The inevitability of blog tribalism?

Apparently some US journalism academic named Tanni Haas  has written a book called Making it in the Political Blogosphere: The World’s Top Political Bloggers Share the Secrets to Success .  I’m not interested in the subject per se, because I long ago concluded that the recipe was both obvious and inherently boring: adopt a predictable, aggressively tribal stance that will attract a loyal audience wanting to have its prejudices confirmed in a way that allows members to see themselves as the true cognoscenti without ever actually needing to think, question or doubt.

I’m much more interested in the comments of a couple of “top political bloggers” about the greatly increased tribalism evident today by comparison with the early days of the political blogosphere.   Kevin Drum, for example, says:

When I started out, there was much more of a tendency to engage with the other side.  Liberals and conservatives would attack each other, but we’d also engage with each other in at least a moderately serious way.  Today, you get almost none of that.  There’s very little engagement between left and right.  And what engagement there is tends to be pure attack.  There’s no real conversation at all.  That’s a difference that I think professionalization has brought about.  The political blogosphere has become more tribal.

Tyler Cowen agrees with the observation but has a slightly different explanation:

A good point, but I blame professionalization less than Kevin does.  Maybe some of us are simply are a bit sick of each other, and the accumulated slights and misunderstandings weigh more heavily on our emotional responses than does the feeling of generosity from working together in the same “office.”  I predict that a given experienced blogger is likely to feel more sympathy for new bloggers, but on average I doubt if the new bloggers are better or more tolerant.

Which means we mostly have ourselves to blame.

As I’ve already foreshadowed, in my view it’s unquestionably true that that there’s much less “inter-tribal” communication than there was when I first started blogging around 2002.  However I’m less sure of the reasons than Drum or Cowen.  Troppo tends even now to retain a greater level of “inter-tribal” communication than most other Australian political blogs, but it’s certainly at a much lower level than it was years ago.  I must confess I don’t miss visits from the Bolt/Blair attack dogs or their extreme left equivalents, but there were also at least a few occasions when interesting conversations actually occurred.  I have always regarded the ideals of deliberative democracy championed by Habermas and others as a tad naive, but I ‘m still attracted to the notion of “agonism” (as opposed to antagonism) propounded by Mouffe and Laclau:

Agonists are skeptical about the capacity of politics to eliminate, overcome, or circumvent deep divisions within our society—of class, culture, gender, ideology, etc. As such, they find liberalism, communitarianism, and multiculturalism wanting. These theories—which have been the backbone of political theory for the past thirty years—are essentially optimistic about the possibility of finding a harmonious and peaceful pattern of political and social cooperation. Agonists, then, both claim that this optimism is unjustified and, hence, re-orient political theory to another question: how should we deal with irreducible difference? In the view of agonists, proponents of the aforementioned traditions, in keeping their eyes fixed on forms of utopian cooperation, have failed to respond usefully to the messiness of contemporary political practice….

Agonists believe that we should design democracy so as to optimise the opportunity for people to express their disagreements. However, they also maintain, we should not assume that conflict can be eliminated given sufficient time for deliberation and rational agreement. In other words, conflict has a non-rational or emotional component. These two positions mean that they are opposed to aspects of consociational and deliberative theories of democracy. The former, because it wants to mute conflict through elite consensus, the latter because it gives a rationalist picture of the aspirations of democracy.

Chantal Mouffe says, “I use the concept of agonistic pluralism to present a new way to think about democracy which is different from the traditional liberal conception of democracy as a negotiation among interests and is also different from the model which is currently being developed by people like Jürgen Habermas and John Rawls. While they have many differences, Rawls and Habermas have in common the idea that the aim of the democratic society is the creation of a consensus, and that consensus is possible if people are only able to leave aside their particular interests and think as rational beings. However, while we desire an end to conflict, if we want people to be free we must always allow for the possibility that conflict may appear and to provide an arena where differences can be confronted. The democratic process should supply that arena.”

Mouffe suggests that the aim of any political deliberation is not “consensus”, because that will usually be impossible, but a workable accommodation between competing interests and viewpoints. Democratic deliberation should aim at turning “enemies” into mere political adversaries or rivals, and potentially violent antagonism into “agonism” where peaceful accommodations/compromises between opponents are not only possible but the normal and expected outcome of political disputation.

However, the success of extremist movements like the US Republican Tea Party, media tribalism fostered by Fox News and local attack dog imitators like Tony Abbott and Andrew Bolt, makes even the limited aims of “agonism” seem naive and unachievable. Prominent local left-leaning equivalents are harder to name (although maybe I’m just exposing my own biases), but bloggers like Antony Lowenstein and the entire silly brigade at “The Political Sword” spring to mind.

Despite those depressing developments, I still see serious, civil political blogs like this one as a potentially valuable arena for fostering agonism.  However that isn’t likely to occur if people increasingly retreat to their tribal enclosures, emerging only for occasional mass attacks on opposing camps.  Unfortunately I can’t actually think of any feasible ways to reverse this tribalist tendency.  Anyone have any ideas?

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic at Charles Darwin University, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law) and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 12 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in he early 1990s.
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289 Responses to The inevitability of blog tribalism?

  1. whyisitso says:

    although maybe I’m just exposing my own biases

    At least you can see through yourself a little, Ken. I’ve seen a lot of rather partisan (to use a kind word) left commenters on this blog back to the early days. Of course Homer is still commenting (does anyone take him seriously?), but Dave Ricardo seems to have retired years ago. While I regard you as leftish rather than your own description, “centrist”, when you went into semi-retirement your successors have been well to your left, although by far your most intelligent successor was Geoff Honnor, who I placed to the right of centre (although he denied that).

    I do think Andrew Bolt is a cut above Tim Blair, although the premier right-wing blogger is undoubtedly the recently resurrected Professor Bunyip, an anonymous blogger, who by reason of that alone would get up Nick Gruen’s nose.

    Another excellent rightie was Currency Lad, who still comments at Catallaxy. Jason Soon still occasionally comments. Right wing commenters seem to move on after a while, mainly because a lot of them get real jobs, as distinct from the lefties, who tend to be employed as academics.

    The nastiest lefty in the old days was Tim Dunlop.

  2. Yobbo says:

    Agreed that Geoff Honnor is sadly missed as a blogger. Not that I can blame him for jumping off the titanic around the time that Chris Sheil turned up.

  3. whyisitso says:

    Thanks Sam. I couldn’t think of Chris’ name. Appalling, yes.

    I was always a regular reader of yur blog, too and regarded it as always a good read.

  4. Kien says:

    Hi, deliberative democracy and agonism seem similar. Both acknowledge that society is plural and there are legitimate differences; agonism (as you describe it) seem to stress social identity as an important source of pluralism. Both also seem to promote deliberation as the main means to reach a rational position, while acknowledging that “rationality” is a broad church. While it is not possible to get complete agreement on every matter through rationalism, there are many matters where broad agreement is possible. It’s not clear to me what solutions agonism would suggest in addition to deliberation.

    I used to think of “rationality” as something very precise and narrow; I now think of “rationality” as a very broad church. Amartya Sen suggests using “reasonableness” (which is a concept the common law courts use) as a term to describe a more exacting standard than rationalism. “Reasonableness” implies/assumes there is an external reference with which to judge a matter, even if that external standard is an abstract one like “a reasonable man”. Where “rationality” seems to assume it is possible to reach a view on a matter through discussion within a society, religious tradition or discipline (e.g., economics) alone, “reasonableness” also encourages a search for an external perspective on the matter, taking account of the experience of other societies in other countries or in another time, or of other religious traditions or of other disciplines. But this requires us to transcend parochialism, which is very hard to do.

  5. KB Keynes says:

    Chris was okay.
    Terrible taste in music and sport and couldn’t tell a decent lead guitarist at all but Backpages was the best ever election blog.

    We will not see it again because of the imported US disease.

  6. conrad says:

    I think that two things make a difference in terms of tribalism on blogs:

    1) A reasonably strict abuse policy — many normal people get fed up with constant abuse every time they say something that doesn’t happen to be the flavour du jour of the other commentators of the blog (it’s probably also a reason the Blogosphere is rather blokey). This seems to a be problem with many blogs (notably but certain not only Catallaxy — John Quiggin’s blog, for example, had the equivalent left-wing nasties for quite some time, e.g., Alice seemed to be able to come up with a pile abuse every time you happened to post even rather non-controversial things, although they seem to have disappeared or got booted of late).

    2) Posts that cover a reasonably broad range of stuff, including some relatively non-politically aligned ones. For example, at least to me, politically Catallaxy and LP have rather opposing views, but LP gets more and more varied discussion going and also seems to have a broader array of commentators and posters (like Robert Merkel, for example, who often posts on things that he finds interesting but are often not politically aligned). Apart from the abuse problems at Catallaxy, I think part of the reason for this is that even if you’re not nearly as left as the average LP commentator, it’s still possible to potentially read interesting things, whereas Catallaxy is more limited to economics and a few rather stereotyped political issues (e.g., global warming), as are a number of the left-wing sites. I note that many of the commercial sites (e.g., The Economist) which would be otherwise fairly unidimensional in terms of their stories often have interesting stuff that isn’t about economics also. This makes them interesting for people who arn’t economists to look at. This is not to say more uni-dimensional sites are bad at all (indeed, many sites aim to be rather focused — I read Language Log now and then, for example, which not surprisingly seems to be read by mainly people interested in weird stuff to do with language), but I don’t think it’s surprising that they tend to attract a less diverse group.

  7. Yobbo says:

    or example, at least to me, politically Catallaxy and LP have rather opposing views, but LP gets more and more varied discussion going and also seems to have a broader array of commentators and posters (like Robert Merkel, for example, who often posts on things that he finds interesting but are often not politically aligned). Apart from the abuse problems at Catallaxy, I think part of the reason for this is that even if you’re not nearly as left as the average LP commentator, it’s still possible to potentially read interesting things

    Possible to read them but not write them. The reason the debate at Catallaxy is more ribald is that Catallaxy doesn’t ban commenters who disagree, they just throw them to the resident wolves.

    On the other hand, nearly every regular Catallaxy commenter (myself included) is either permanently banned or on permanent moderation at LP for continually breaking the “no right-wing comments” rule. It’s impossible to participate in any kind of discussion when your comments go into a moderation queue which is deliberately left unchecked for 48-72 hours at a time.

  8. Pingback: Political differences are not tribal but they are real at Catallaxy Files

  9. Geoff Honnor says:

    “While I regard you as leftish rather than your own description, “centrist”, when you went into semi-retirement your successors have been well to your left, although by far your most intelligent successor was Geoff Honnor, who I placed to the right of centre (although he denied that).”

    Oy! He still does. FWIW, whenever it’s a toss-up between cutting my toenails or succumbing to the allure of those ‘map your political/ideological position” thingos, the toenails lose out. I tend to come out a bit left of centre on the graph and FTR, the ALP generally gets my vote – though they shouldn’t get too comfortable about it if they’re reading…..

    And thanks for the compliment, mate, but to clarify, Ken actually invited me to blog here with him back in the days when Mark Bahnisch, Chris Shiel et al were also Troppo regulars. I certainly didn’t ‘succeed’ Ken – it’s hard to think of anyone doing that successfully. When Parish posts the place lights up like Sydney Harbour on NYE. The man is incapable of composing a turgid, navel-gazing yawn-maker though, given his can-do, frontier spirit, he’s been willing to give it a punt on the odd occasion.

    Declaring oneself a centrist is of course to issue a crazy/brave challenge that mobilises armies of keyboard analysts determined to ‘prove’ otherwise and Troppo has had more scrutiny on that topic than Julia Gillard’s bum gets on Catallaxy. But the fact that this place accommodated a bunch of bloggers as diverse as the mob aforementioned might indicate otherwise. Up until the Great Sophie Masson Schism, Troppo was the beating heart of the Ozblogosphere and the cardiac monitor still beeps impressively when Parish surfaces.

    I agree with Ken that things have become much more tribal. Quiggin’s site used to be a must read for me until his comments thread became populated by what appears to be a bunch of bad-tempered Trots albeit, devoid of Leon’s generosity of spirit and open-mindedness.

    I still drop by LP and it can still chuck a good post up – particularly when it’s a topic that divides the hivemind that LP stoutly insists it does not have.

    The Cat is colourful, prolific, often very funny and actually (given the laissez faire mod policy) one of the few places where comment threads regularly offer a diversity of perspectives – though you’d wonder at the possibility of masochistic tendencies in some of the lefty regulars. It feels more ‘five schooners down, a punch in the head and a tramadol’ anarchic than ‘Libertarian’ – but maybe the former is an authentic rendering of the latter? Then it’s Andrew Norton – specialist blog but always a good read – and the always excellent After Grog and that’s pretty much my regular Ozblog read.

    I don’t think the brave new world of stimulating, free flowing online citizen discourse – optimistically envisaged back in the neolithic era of blogging in the early 00’s – is going to come anytime soon. Tribalism is comforting, reassuring and instinctive and anonymity offers perfect cover for chucking the buckets of vitriol not possible in face to face or other identity-disclosed settings. A read of some of the comment threads in the Brit online broadsheets (which are – incredibly – moderated) is a depressing testament to its corrosive effect. No-one discusses the content much, instead writers are frequently attacked for having the temerity to submit vile, squalid, unprofessional work, traduced for being fat, bald or fascistic, raged at for their laziness and failure to grapple effectively with some esoteric point of grammar – and thats’s just the Lifestyle section.

    The noble Athenian ideal envisaged back in the day has turned out be some sad, lonely keyboard jockey in stained undies downing a longneck while he types up a storm of the sort of abuse that aims – but doesn’t come to close – to compensating for being him.

    Regardless, I reckon the principles of a good blog are eternal and pretty basic:

    Lively, intelligent, accessible, entertaining, a bit unexpected, a bit off the wall. Don’t be too earnest or soulful, it engenders ‘dickhead’ responses – unless it’s about someone dying.

    Don’t write for the academy in ostensibly mainstream blogs. Save it for peer-reviewed journal submission or ritual student humiliation. Specialist blogs are interesting to specialists some of the time, maybe.

    Pomposity is magnified online and any hint of being a bit up oneself attracts destructive critique like blood does sharks.

    Finally, tribalism is wuckin tedious and basic self-corrective rule here: The ABC is neither a hotbed of radical leftism nor a den of Coalition supporting stooges. Ditto Annabel Crabbe.

    If you’re writing about Economics chuck some nudie pix up to engage the 99% of punters who’d prefer you didn’t.

    Finally, if your kneejerk reaction to reading something you disagree with (in some MSM rag you never read) is to go online and demand that the organ be closed down and the staff burned at the stake, you’re almost certainly over-reacting. If you can analyse the worth or otherwise of an article, chances are that millions of other people can do exactly the same. And don’t panic – 90% of the people you see reading the Demon Tele on the train to work in the morning are not being mind-controlled by Tim Blar. They’re just reading the Sport section or celeb trash. Most of the others can’t read and are just looking at the pix. And no-one reads Piers Akerman. Ever. They make up the comments thread in Holt St over a few beers

  10. Ken Parish says:

    It’s time for a blogging comeback Geoff. At least an occasional post … Pretty please!!!???

  11. Paul Montgomery says:

    The Cat is colourful, prolific, often very funny and actually (given the laissez faire mod policy) one of the few places where comment threads regularly offer a diversity of perspectives – though you’d wonder at the possibility of masochistic tendencies in some of the lefty regulars. It feels more ‘five schooners down, a punch in the head and a tramadol’ anarchic than ‘Libertarian’ – but maybe the former is an authentic rendering of the latter?

    As one of those Cat masochists, even I am not sure why I keep going back. It’s a bit of a pattern of mine, seeking out the trolliest dungeons on the Internet and trying to fit in. I have done the same thing at League Unlimited, which is full of ridged-brow throwbacks. I’m sure a pat psych analysis would be damning.

    In both cases, my original thought was that maybe I would like to start content businesses targeting these audiences (I’m an entrepreneur), but that idea has long since been abandoned. These days I think the reason I keep posting at these places is that it keeps me on my toes, I don’t get the chance to be lazy or complacent under such rates of fire. I am always trying to improve myself and hone my skills, so the bareknuckle bear pits of the Cat and LU are where I feel like I’m getting the best mental work out.

    As for what this says about the Cat, I do not entirely agree with the laissez-faire moderation policy which leads to ritualised abuse, but I don’t think that’s the main problem. I’ll reproduce here what I said over there on a recent thread:

    The main operational problem with this site’s ideology, in my view, is that in promoting zombie economics from the 1930s, it’s difficult to make it interesting or current. Most of Steve [Kates]’s OPs consist of 150 words of him stating, yet again, what he believes, and then saying this or that story from the news proves he’s been right all along. This is not a recipe for reasoned debate. He’s reduced to a barking dog, who only knows the word WOOF. That’s not a good way to start a discussion, unless you like reading 50 posts in every thread from CL, Dot and JC yelling WOOF back at him like a suburban backyard orchestra.

    There are ways to engineer civil debate without explicit moderation. Posting interesting and thought-provoking OPs is the main one, I think, as that is the best way to set the tone. I fully agree with conrad’s point about posting about things other than the narrow remit of the blog, as that engenders positive community effects better than anything else, reminding commenters of shared interests and that they are actual human beings rather than anonymised attack dog personae. That has to come from the OP writers, I think, as open threads are not enough to accomplish it.

  12. Pedro says:

    Mutual back-slapping is bound to become painful after a while, so it is with tribal blogs.

    I suppose the proper definition of a tribal blog is where members of other tribes are chased away.

    I don’t think catallaxy is tribal because it really does have a variety of posters, but some of them on either side are extremely partisan and deaf to the other side. Some of the regular commenters are amazingly closed-minded and that is super tedious.

    I like this blog because there are less of the extremely partisan and not so much, but still some, deafness. It’s nice when people commenting are intelligent and most seem so.

  13. Pedro says:

    “The main operational problem with this site’s ideology, in my view, is that in promoting zombie economics from the 1930s”

    A good expression of tribal allegiance. Along with the “intellectual collapse of the right”, the zombie claim is just a snarky slogan that doesn’t survive much critical review. The most you can find is that sometimes some people on the right say stupid things. But who wants to pretend that doesn’t happen on the left? Other times the claimed stupidity is a downright misrepresentation of what was actually said.

  14. Paul Montgomery says:

    In this case, Pedro, the Cat is explicitly pushing Mises, Say and other theorists who lost the debate 80 years ago. Zombie economics seems to me an accurate way to describe this phenomenon.

  15. KB Keynes says:

    The big difference between John Quiggin and even LP and than Catallaxy is that the former strive to promote debate.

    Catallaxy doesn’t do that at all. Steve Kates for example has never addressed the IMF and BIS papers which demolished classical economics.
    It was never allowed to be talked about. When he makes an absurd judgment that Australia got to full employment after the Depression the ignoranti simply accept this. no questions are ever asked on why it fell 3-4 fold after WW2 started if it was at full unemployment.

    You will see John Quiggin enter ‘hostile’ blogs to debate issues but rarely ever anyone from Catallaxy.

    Pedro if even Hayek can admit he got it wrong about policies in Germany under Bruning then you might expect his ‘followers’ to as well.

  16. Geoff Honnor says:

    “nearly every regular Catallaxy commenter (myself included) is either permanently banned or on permanent moderation at LP”

    I reckon it’s the ‘Yobbo’ nick, Sam. At LP, it pretty much reeks of that whole 1788-1972 boring Anglo-Australian wasteland of blowies, blokes in 1950’s hats looking morosely into the great spiritual emptiness, ANZAC Day and meat and three veg somnolence – punctuated only by Dad rolling home from the boozer and whacking Mum for under-cooking the cabbage – that existed until Gough came to office and bought Blue Poles, opened 5,000 Thai restaurants and appointed Anne Summers as his advisor on Women.

    Chuck “Foucauldian” in front of “Yobbo” and see what happens.

  17. Geoff Honnor says:

    “It’s time for a blogging comeback Geoff”

    I’m persuaded, Ken – pretty easily, obviously. And I’m on leave from 9/12. E me and we’ll talk.

  18. Tom N. says:

    While there is occasionally some interesting stuff on Catallaxy, the site’s downward trajectory has been evident for a while. Presumably, the increase in the site’s block-headed tribalism and associated abuse of counterview-holders is one reason why former quality Cat posters, like Andrew Norton and Jason Soon, left or have dramatically reduced their input.

    The Cat does serve a useful function though: it has releived Troppo of the burden of serving as a respository for Rafe’s long, turgid eulogies of Mises et al, which typically included fascinating (to Rafe, anyway) details such as what brand of ink Mises used and his grandparents’ favourite holiday destinations, along with almost sentence-by-sentence descriptions of what Mises wrote in his various missives.

  19. Richard Tsukamasa Green says:

    Something that I find irritating about tribalistic comments is that I often find myself deliberately loading posts up with more jargon than is necessary, just to make sure the footy fans get bored after a paragraph and go off to interminable and boring fights in other threads. Enough jargon means that the minority that reads to the end are much more likely to say something interesting, but it almost certainly deters many intelligent and interesting people who could have been drawn in by a more inclusive choice of language. But if I use any terminology that is related to a talking point, the oxygen in the thread is quickly driven out by the decomposing mass of redundant opinions repeated ad naseum by a narrow selection of commenters.

    I’m far less concerned with the abuse and antagonism (although they are formidable barriers to anything interesting) than with the fact that tribal comments are so goddamn boring.

    These rehashed positions are very low quality, but very cheaply reproduced, where insight is costly. The nearest biological equivalent is cockroaches. And like them, the tribalists seem destined to inherit the earth.

  20. Jason says:

    Ken,
    Yet when I last posted on this site, you asked because my surname is “Hand” was I a ralative of the former “Keating” minister “Gerry”! I’m not as I said, but even if I were related,so what? I would like to post my thoughts not his!

  21. murph the surf. says:

    At this rate Margo will be asked to reappear too.

  22. KS says:

    Much of what you are talking about also relates to the well known psychological phenomenom of confirmation bias. Anyone who does not think they are themselves subject to confirmation bias is a genuine fool. We all are. We accept information that fits with our views already held more easily than contrary opinions.

    Google et al accentuates confirmation bias because it allows anyone to easily and immediately confirm their own bias. It seems to me that this basic human psychology has almost neutered the information superhighway benefits of the internet.

  23. KS says:

    “KB Keynes said:

    The big difference between John Quiggin and even LP and than Catallaxy is that the former strive to promote debate.”

    Keynes, that may be true but I think when it comes to the subsequent comment treads themselves there is equal tribalism which is I think what has been raised here?

    Alternative comments are equally disregarded or diparaged at both Catallaxy or Quiggin. However, Quiggin hiimself does indeed often engage alternative views if itelligently framed.

    Perhaps all you display KB Keynes is more of your own confirmation bias ……. which when you think about it is simply a psychological underpinning for tribalism.

  24. debbiep says:

    ~ “silly brigade at “The Political Sword” spring to mind.” ~

    I’m not sure what gives you the right , or better still, the qualifications you have to judge OR label others as silly . So out of curiosity , who ARE YOU to be able to do this?

  25. Yobbo says:

    I reckon it’s the ‘Yobbo’ nick, Sam.

    It’s not. Like I said, there are dozens of Cat commenters who are banned/moderated from LP. They don’t all use the nickname “Yobbo”.

  26. TerjeP says:

    The mindlessly abusive comments at most blogs, including the Cat, come from a small band of committed individuals determine to police their neighborhood and rid it of any carriers of dissenting opinion. It is quite disappointing. In theory it could be fixed with small amounts of moderation but who has the time for that?

  27. Ken Parish says:

    dear debbie

    I can’t do any better than to paraphrase and adapt the immortal words of Justice Potter Stewart of the US Supreme Court in Jacobellis v Ohio in 1964:

    I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [“hard-core pornography” “silliness”]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture blog involved in this case is not that.

  28. kelly liddle says:

    “local attack dog imitators like Tony Abbott and Andrew Bolt”

    Just wondering why you chose those attack dogs. The attack dog that is currently unliked by many including myself is the Prime Minister and several of her ministers. You might think what am I talking about, well I just have to speak one word “DENIER”. How do you think this goes down for those who don’t believe in climate change computer modelling which at the moment seems to be failing. Especially how do you think it makes people such as a former CSIRO head Dr Art Raiche feel? Another example could be the attack on Qantas management just after saying I don’t want to take sides but…

  29. Tom N. says:

    Over at Cattalaxy, Rafe has claimed:

    On Troppo I wrote that the only hope for the future was civil dialogue between rival parties. Ken described me as the grand old man of Aust blogging and Nicholas called me a gentleman and a scholar. Next thing I was dropped from blogging on Troppo, without even access to comments!

    Of course, there were good reasons for dropping Rafe from the Troppo posters roll, disucussed at the time, to do with the extent that he had eschewed posting serious commentary and analysis on topical issues on Troppo in favour of retailing simplistic RWDB-style talking points interspersed with turgid Mises et al eulogies.

    However, I had not realised that he was banned from the comments threads too! Is this really the case and, if so, I wonder whether that was a step too far?

  30. 2dogs says:

    Agonistic discussions about climate change would be a really good idea.

    There is a lot of missed potential for agreement on the science, and we do need to discuss adaptation costs. Adaptation can not be avoided, and we need to plan for it.

  31. TimT says:

    Just popping up to put in a good word for Rafe – I’ve been enjoying many of his posts on the Cat, even – and perhaps especially – his historical surveys of Mises’ favourite pencils, etc. It’s a relief actually after all the partisan blog commentary to read something taking the long historical perspective. Long may the Rafe Reign of Terror continue.

  32. Pedro says:

    “local attack dog imitators like Tony Abbott and Andrew Bolt”

    The people you least agree with will always seem the most strident. It’s another aspect of confirmation bias. Not counting paul keating, the current govt contains the most abusive crowd I’ve seen at Fed level. But some people around here probably believed that the Howard govt was crushing dissent.

    The first step in a reasonably civilised debate is understanding that you and your opponent will naturally think things that the other regards as biased.

    Paul M, even Homer has said in the past, though he will deny it now probably, that Keynsian claims are really only relevant to the special circumstances of the liquidity trap. Therefore, homer would agree that classical economics has a lot to say in other times. Now that some liquidity traps exist around the place it is the modern monetarists that seem to be providing the way forward and taking some noted keynsians with them So the zombie claim remains reflexive abuse.

    “that existed until Gough came to office and bought Blue Poles”

    LOL, first he opened China to the West and then he opened Australia to modern art!

  33. conrad says:

    “The people you least agree with will always seem the most strident.”

    When did post moderism start affecting Troppo? There is certainly a range of behavior various people exhibit and some people are certainly are more attack-dog like than others, and if one was bothered, it would certainly be people possible to even quantify that (you can have Derryn Hinch for an attack dog with alternative politics if you like).

    On this note, one of the great things about the internet is that anyone can express their opinion. So if kelly wants to convince the rest of the world that Gillard is about as bad as Abbott or everyone’s favourite Irish Bloodhound who thinks killing mosquitos with a sledgehammer is a good idea (in a cooling daily climate), it should be simple if there really are such arguments (why not just post them on the site that is linked with the name?) and if they’re good enough, I’m sure everyone will listen.

  34. Pedro says:

    I’m the last person for post modernism conrad, it’s just natural that the attack dogs you disagree with will seem the more vicious.

  35. Dan says:

    Conrad: actually it’s psychology; both reactance and Terror Management Theory are germane here.

  36. jtfsoon says:

    The blog culture has changed tremendously from when it first started and the phenomenon can’t really be pinned down to just one or two blogs. of course maybe this is just illusory nostalgia from a relatively old hand but it did seem as if the Athenian spirit prevailed for a brief period in early blogdom. I remember having quite fruitful exchanges with Quiggin and Dunlop. I remember when there was less mean spiritedness around (and incidentally i prefer Blair to Bolt – Blair strikes me as a happy warrior, there is an amiability to his proddings that is missing in Bolt who personifies the new spirit of blogdom. While I deplore the use of legislation against him I have never been a fan).

    There are some topics I just try and avoid discussing seriously nowadays because they raise my hackles and blood pressure and have become so relentlessly mired in partisanship, namely global warming and Islam/Muslims (with the latter many people seem unable to distinguish between the two).

  37. Tom N. says:

    ATTACK DOGS A PROBLEM FOR CAT

    I’m the last person for post modernism conrad, it’s just natural that the attack dogs you disagree with will seem the more vicious.

    And there’s your problem, Pedro: you think its fine to be an “attack dog”, just not a vicious one.

    Ken is actually calling for attack dogs to be put down, or at least muzzled or impounded, to allow thoughtful, civilised debate and interchange to take place. Alas, however, the presence of death beasts – whether left or right – and the low tone they set tends to crowd out more reasonable contributions. This can be clearly seen at Catallaxy where, despite some interesting posts from time to time that might warrant, and benefit from, some sensible debate, the usual suspects in the comments threads spoil any attempt at such.

    Of course, this afflicts not just the Catallaxy echo chamber. Quiggin’s blog has gone seriously downhill since Alice and other “enforcers” took to badmouthing – and burying in a mountain of niggling missing-the-key-point comments – any non-PC view on that blog too.

  38. Mother Hubbard's Dog says:

    Gough brought us Vietnamese restaurants, not Thai. They came later.

  39. conrad says:

    I don’t doubt people’s attitudes have an effect on how one individual perceives another. However, it’s still not simply attitudes.

    For example, if I made a ratio between the number of negative and positive comments Abbott made (or policy vs. criticism), would it be higher than, say, Malcolm Turnbull, John Howard, Alexander Downer, or etc. ? Seems likely. So we have a very simplistic attack-dog measure.

    If you wanted more detailed measures, you could cluster the comments of different individuals on various dimensions and pick out the centre of the clusters.

  40. Dan says:

    I think that’s conceptually sound, but easier said than done:

    As it happens, I don’t mind a bit of a stoush.

    But I’m also conscious of the need to offer coherent alternatives; it’s pretty much useless (probably worse than useless) to just hate on others’ positions without attempting to offer a coherent alternative.

    So, I hope that even when I am giving some vampire squid both barrels, it is in a constructive and positive spirit and, I hope, getting people thinking.

    What’s my measure on the attack-dog-o-meter?

    (Incidentally when there was the student walkout on Mankiw I posted on Catallaxy – first time – and said words to the effect that I agreed with the students that their education was probably of an abstract and technocratic nature, and that economics students should be taught economic history before neoclassical theory. No one even replied! They’re more interested in stoushing with straw men than articulate opponents, I think.)

  41. It’s the Right as exemplified in America, and its spillover influence in Australia, which has moved away from evidence and practicality and has become more ideologically driven and tribalist in outlook. We see this with the absurd “purity tests” that the Republican candidates are being put through now on climate change, health reform, and (to an extent) tax and wealth issues.

    I am not exactly sure how this has happened – the influence of libertarianism certainly seems part of the mix – but it has basically meant that the Right has moved away from being the side that previously was more about finding practical solutions (and not letting ideology intrude too much) to the complete reversal.

    It is remarkable that the Right blogosphere does not see this, and also does not recognize that to a very large extent its rhetoric against (say) Gillard or Obama has become every bit as hysterical and over the top as that from the Left against Howard and Bush.

    The Left blogosphere can still make its silly mistakes – John Quiggin’s post (after Rudd’s win?) about the end of the Coalition as a serious force in Australia for the foreseeable future was a good example – and blogs like LP show Lefties can be so earnest that they make for very dull reading; but the reality still seems to be that they are at least approaching the current key issues with an actual serious regard for evidence which is missing in the poisoned Right.

    As to how to reduce this tribalism – I see no way that it can occur at all in the foreseeable future, at least without the current ideological beliefs current poisoning the US Right undergoing some form of embarrassing defeat.

  42. jtfsoon says:

    I am not exactly sure how this has happened – the influence of libertarianism certainly seems part of the mix – but it has basically meant that the Right has moved away from being the side that previously was more about finding practical solutions (and not letting ideology intrude too much) to the complete reversal.

    I am equally disappointed with the conspiracist view of climate change science that has taken hold on the right but to blame it on the libertarianism side is a bit rich. Some of the strongest climate change conspiracy theorists are on the conservative right. On the other hand, me, JC and John Humphreys for instance are all climate change believers but on the libertarianish side.

    Having said that, the ‘it’s all a conspiracy school’ is also disappointing because
    1)there are much more intellectually respectable cases for policy scepticism and adaptation (e.g. as eloquently put by Henry Ergas) without buying into the package which in its extreme manifestations is almost nowadays bordering on being anti-science and a simple minded populist form of anti-elitism (there was a time when the right was on the side of science and elitism, which was a good thing)

    2) the right (and I have made this argument before) could have used the ‘what to do about climate change’ debate to trojan horseits favourite policies more strongly (carbon tax for income tax cuts, nukes). Instead, it is doing the opposite and sections of it are using the same sorts of silly arguments which the left used to deploy against the GST , adopting egalitarian and social justice rhetoric against carbon pricing policies in a way that will bite them back in future.

  43. jtfsoon says:

    I should also add there are also respectable arguments against the scientific consensus on climate change (e.g. much as i disagree with his conclusions, dover beach on catallaxy is very good on this) and they all deserve a hearing. But flirting with clowns like Lord Monckton is aother thing altogether.

  44. Yobbo says:

    It’s the Right as exemplified in America, and its spillover influence in Australia, which has moved away from evidence and practicality and has become more ideologically driven and tribalist in outlook.

    Yes it’s the right’s fault that they can no longer reach a compromise with a left that has become increasingly leftish.

    It takes 2 to tango Steve. The right side of American politics pandered to the left for years through the Bush administration, only to realise that it would never be enough. That’s why there’s the blowback called the Tea party.

    Republicans finally worked out that the left will never be happy with just social democratic, “third way” government. They want the whole shebang. So what is the point of appeasing them any further?

  45. Dan says:

    [email protected], re. your last point: Yes, to see off this sort of positivistic silliness, we’d need some sort of black swan event like tech stocks being tremendously overvalued and the market subsequently crashing. Or a speculative housing bubble where housing values significantly departed from fundamentals, crashing, and requiring governments to bail out over-leveraged banks with all sorts of toxic debt on their books. Or an interventionist stance in an oil-producing Middle Eastern country with no plan for how to succeed, no plan for how to exit, and no understanding of local history and culture, resulting in a dreadful quagmire.

    I will from here on refer to these purely hypothetical events as ‘the dot-com bust’, ‘the Global Financial Crisis’, and ‘the Iraq War Mk.II’ respectively.

  46. Dan says:

    [email protected]: Yes, those Communists Clinton and Obama. And Gillard. Shameless.

  47. conrad says:

    “The right side of American politics pandered to the left for years through the Bush administration, only to realise that it would never be enough.”

    In what way Yobbo? It seems to me that Bush #2 was one of the most idiotic presidents ever, and his main achievement appears to have been bankrupting the US via war and tax cuts to the rich which were supposed to pay for themselves by….magic (sorry, did I mean vodoo economics which even the rather right wing Bush #1 didn’t believe). How is this pandering to the left?

  48. Fyodor says:

    Unsurprisingly, Geoff Honnor nailed it early on:

    I don’t think the brave new world of stimulating, free flowing online citizen discourse – optimistically envisaged back in the neolithic era of blogging in the early 00?s – is going to come anytime soon. Tribalism is comforting, reassuring and instinctive and anonymity offers perfect cover for chucking the buckets of vitriol not possible in face to face or other identity-disclosed settings.

    Both Left and Right are guilty as charged. Catallaxy’s political corrective is largely policed by its commentariat, whereas Yobbo’s correct in blaming LP’s moderation for its present incarnation as Ozblogistan’s hospice for the Green Left Weekly crowd.

    That this discussion is taking place on Troppo suggests it’s about as “centrist” as you get these days in Ozblogistan.

  49. Patrick says:

    Dan, they may, despite doubtless your best efforts, have failed to realise that you intended to be the latter not the former ;)

  50. Yobbo says:

    Bush was the highest taxing and spending president in US history (before Obama at least). He also passed the No Child Left Behind act and a $7 trillion PBS for senior citizens. He supported amnesty and legalisation for illegal immigrants which lost him a lot of supporters amongst the republican party.

    He was willing to bribe the left with anything to get them to continue voting to fight the war on terror. That was really the only thing he was passionate about, he was hardly a beacon of conservatism.

  51. Dan says:

    [email protected]: are you referring to my Catallaxy experience @40? I think I present as, uh, reasonably reasonable. But I am generally no fence-sitter.

    [email protected]: if you actually look at the policy outcomes of NCLB (which I have, drawing on Rand Corp’s work looking at it), it’s just set up to kick the disadvantaged. In fact, it is so obviously geared that way, it’s hard to imagine that it wasn’t designed to do so.

  52. TerjeP says:

    Yobbo – I think it is more complex than that. The Republicans were not merely appeasing the left but in many regards they had essentially joined the left. There is now a battle occurring for the heart of the Republican party to decide it’s future. Will it continue to be run by people that mouth the rhetoric of small government but still believe in the magnificents of federal government departments and programs, or will the small government rhetoric actually mean something. The Liberal Party in Australia is by contrast still safely in the hands of conservatives that believe in the magnificents of big government coupled with the conceit that they would run it better.

  53. TerjeP says:

    On the other hand, me, JC and John Humphreys for instance are all climate change believers but on the libertarianish side.

    Jason – neither you nor John seem to blog much these days.

  54. Yobbo says:

    [email protected]: if you actually look at the policy outcomes of NCLB (which I have, drawing on Rand Corp’s work looking at it), it’s just set up to kick the disadvantaged. In fact, it is so obviously geared that way, it’s hard to imagine that it wasn’t designed to do so.

    Regardless of who it actually helps and doesn’t help, the point is that it was a massive government spending program signed into law by Bush.

    Clinton by comparison was the most frugal president since Coolidge. Spending decreased every year he held office.

  55. Dan says:

    Yobbo, Terje: I think you guys are blind to the fact that it is False Keynesianism, specifically war expenditure and its corollary, economic (if not military) imperialism, that props up the US economy. In this context, the notion of “the Right” making concessions to “the Left” is just so much more pointless tribalism. You’d be better advised to look at the links between business and government to work out why the US political system looks more corporatist than capitalist or democratic in its orientation.

    I forget which right-wing economist it was who apologetically noted: “If you want small government, vote Democrat”.

  56. Yobbo says:

    I forget which right-wing economist it was who apologetically noted: “If you want small government, vote Democrat”.

    I bet he hasn’t that said for a couple of years eh?

  57. Dan says:

    Probably not, but I also note as go foreign policy there is no substantive issue on which Obama is to the left of Bush. So he’s an equal opportunity disappointment.

  58. Dan says:

    Ken: Look! The tribes are talking to each other!

  59. Yobbo says:

    I think you guys are blind to the fact that it is False Keynesianism, specifically war expenditure and its corollary, economic (if not military) imperialism, that props up the US economy.

    I’d be interested to hear what you consider “economic imperialism”. However, unless it involves pointing cannons at Guangzhou I’m unlikely to accept your definition.

  60. Yobbo says:

    I also note as go foreign policy there is no substantive issue on which Obama is to the left of Bush. So he’s an equal opportunity disappointment.

    Isn’t it funny then that there hasn’t been months upon months of street protests aimed at Obama’s overseas wars like there is whenever a Republican is president?

    Even the people protesting the bailouts can’t bring themselves to decry the President who approved them. I bet they’d be “occupying” the white house lawn if it was a republican that approved them.

  61. Re Jason’s comments:

    * What about the two other ideologically driven issues on the American Right at the moment? Look at the way virtually any government intervention on the US’s objectively poorly performing health system is called “socialism” in the right wing blogosphere; Palin gets to talk about hard nosed decisions that all other countries make re the expense of treatment “death panels”. This is a triumph of ideology over common sense. As is the type of reaction where a call by Buffett for modest increases in tax in the wealthy is met with graphs and figures to try to prove that the rich aren’t really so favourably treated after all.

    * libertarianism and its small government, low tax ideology does arguably lie at the core of each of these evidence challenged positions. It’s one correct call at the moment – “hey, a hell of a lot of governments have been spending beyond their means” – has been taken to an illogical extreme that government intervention in virtually anything is a bad idea.

    In fact, the international example in health care, and success stories in environmental matters such as CFCs show this is simply not true, but the Tea Party refuses to believe it in the face of evidence.

  62. Yobbo says:

    Steve the issues with US health care are much more complex than just “socialised vs private”. The US already spends more per capita on health care than any other country in the world, which is why socialising the costs is such a hot topic there.

    The truth is they would need massive changes to their culture, and the way their entire health system operates to fix the issues. Government-subsidised insurance wouldn’t do anything.

  63. desipis says:

    Obama’s overseas wars

    Please list the overseas wars that the Obama administration has started.

  64. Dan says:

    Re: economic imperialism – bear with me, though in the interim suffice it to say the US would be crazy not to leverage their dominance of int’l institutions such as the World Bank and WTO.

    As for Dems doing militaristic stuff – CounterPunch are consistently critical.

  65. KB Keynes says:

    Pedro,

    I did say and still say the only time one uses Keynesian economic policies in ‘bad’ times is when monetary policy is not working i.e. when the is a liquidity trap around or something similar ( credit markets not working).

    you should always use Keynesian economics in good times which means stronger and strongest budget surpluses. This is completely different to Classical economics which only ‘mandates’ a balanced budget which ends up being pro-cyclical.

    For most of the time you allow automatic stabilisers on the fiscal front but make monetary policy the prime ‘weapon’.

    so for most countries Keynes was needed in the good times but ignored and should have been used during the GFC in terms of fiscal policy but at no other time.

    yobbo,

    It was NATO that launched strikes on Libya assisting the ‘reformers’ led by France and the UK not the USA.

  66. Yobbo says:

    Yes Homer, and it was the “coalition of the willing” that engaged in war with Saddam’s forces in Iraq.

    Both of them are just codenames for “US military plus a few irrelevant friends”.

  67. Yobbo, what you said about the health care system there may be true, but isn’t it a sign of silly tribalism that reform measures are attacked by Tea Party types as “socialism”?

  68. Dan says:

    I am really surprised and disappointed to see lefties here trying to defend or justify Obama’s foreign policy record, which is atrocious and has been from day one.

  69. KB Keynes says:

    for pete’s sake,

    Firstly it wasn’t a war.

    NATO didn’t declare war on Libya it helped out those opposing Qaddafi.

    This is completely different to invading a country like Iraq.
    They assisted opposing forces which made it into a civil war.

    the USA didn’t initiate it but merely assisted.

    Why did those opposing Gaddafi laud Sarkozy and Cameron and not Obama?
    aniother thing find out who started TARP and who got it passed by Congress.

    The Treasury head was who?
    Is it to ohard to even find out basic facts?

  70. Dan says:

    1) War in Iraq still going (so much for the promised “you can take that to the bank” exit).

    2) War in Afghanistan still going.

    3) Guantanamo still open.

    4) Patriot Act still in force.

  71. Yobbo says:

    I am really surprised and disappointed to see lefties here trying to defend or justify Obama’s foreign policy record, which is atrocious and has been from day one.

    That makes one of us.

  72. jtfsoon says:

    Dan
    I’m a righty and aside from the mistake of upsetting the apple cart of Libya I am happy to defend the rest of Obama’s foreign policy record as far from ‘atrocious’. (so much for tribalism) What are you referring to specifically?

  73. Yobbo says:

    Yobbo, what you said about the health care system there may be true, but isn’t it a sign of silly tribalism that reform measures are attacked by Tea Party types as “socialism”?

    Compulsory insurance is socialism Steve. Whether it works or not, that’s what it is.

    People make a point of calling it by its rightful name, to remind those with short memories what happens if we take the same path with all of our problems.

  74. Jason, I thought if it was up to you the US would be out of Afghanistan already by now?

  75. Dan says:

    [email protected]: Really? Most of my lefty associates that I know in, uh, real life are, to a greater or lesser extent, willing to identify the smell of rotten fish. And the libertarians I know likewise (even the Hitchens fan).

    [email protected]: see 71.

  76. Dan says:

    5) Drone attacks in Pakistan.

  77. jtfsoon says:

    steve
    I would prefer that Australia be out of Afghanistan.

    Re the US decision, it does seem like a waste of their resources but I would hardly characterise it as atrocious. Same with Iraq and Gitmo. It’s business as usual and continues Republican policy.

    On the other hand, Obama has had sterling successses with his targeted assassinations. More, please.

  78. jtfsoon says:

    Dan
    Pakistan is an over-regarded ‘ally’. We owe them nothing after they kept OBL in hiding all these years. And if they can’t police their own nether regions from terrorist infiltration then they shouldn’t complain if other people do it for them. I am glad we are giving India uranium.

  79. Yobbo says:

    [email protected], then why did they protest against Bush’s war but not Obama’s?

    I apologise in advance if there actually was a protest about Obama’s war that I missed.

  80. Yobbo says:

    On the other hand, Obama has had sterling successses with his targeted assassinations. More, please.

    I agree, although if you called for this during the republican presidency you’d be branded a nazi. Targetted assassinations are much cheaper and more effective than wars.

  81. kelly liddle says:

    Conrad

    Although it might be long winded if you read my submission to the Clean Energy Legislation it is all in there even a request that the Prime Minister apologise for her behaviour. That particular point if you want to find it is in the Conclusion of the original submission.

  82. KB Keynes says:

    ‘Compulsory insurance is socialism.’

    Says it all really, actually proves Ken’s point

  83. Dan says:

    jtf: While I shed no tears for OBL and concur that Pakistan certainly isn’t to be trusted, we are setting a dangerous precedent if we just do our own thing with regard to incursions and assassinations. As Noam pointed out, how would the world have reacted if a team of Iraqi commandos had stormed the White House and sammarily executed George W. Bush?

    Yobbo: tbh I’m not sure, but then again there hadn’t been any against Bush for a long time either. Maybe people have given up? Or maybe people just hoped that it was a transitory period? (There were plenty against Johnson, so it’s not just right-wing warmongers that have caught stick).

  84. JC says:

    Steve says:

    It’s the Right as exemplified in America, and its spillover influence in Australia, which has moved away from evidence and practicality and has become more ideologically driven and tribalist in outlook.

    Really Steve. You think there are no purity tests on the Democrat Party side, right?

    Try running as an anti-abortion candidate for the presidency as a Dem.

    We see this with the absurd “purity tests” that the Republican candidates are being put through now on climate change, health reform, and (to an extent) tax and wealth issues.

    Both political parties have purity tests in the primaries. Primary voters are the most partisan for both.

  85. Dan says:

    *summarily

  86. JC says:

    As Noam pointed out, how would the world have reacted if a team of Iraqi commandos had stormed the White House and sammarily executed George W. Bush?

    Oh yes Dan. The Noam moral equivalencies. Has he ever tried to turn those into a drinking game as they seem lots of fun.

  87. Patrick says:

    Noam who? Do you mean that Chomsky guy? As far as I could ever tell he wasn’t even right about language and that was an area he actually knew something about.

    In a response to that particular hypothetical, it would have been necessary to refer to the concepts of legitimacy, democracy and tyranny. Clearly, one would have got nowhere discussing it with a chomskybot.

  88. Julie Thomas says:

    Re Yobbo’s point; Hayek said

    “There is no reason why, in a society which has reached the general level of wealth ours has, the first kind of security should not be guaranteed to all without endangering general freedom; that is: some minimum of food, shelter and clothing, sufficient to preserve health. Nor is there any reason why the state should not help to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance in providing for those common hazards of life against which few can make adequate provision.”

    I suppose ‘guaranteed to all’ isn’t the same as compulsory; and this seems very close to socialism, no?

  89. Dan says:

    [email protected]: I call squib, and can drink most people under the table.

    [email protected]: Actually, he revolutionised linguistics. Where his ideas ave been superseded (and no doubt that’s quite a bit), see the old quote about standing on the shoulders of giants.

  90. jtfsoon says:

    We can give Noam linguistics, unless you are a radical Blank Slater (which ironically the naive left who go on about evolution and genetics but in practice never seem to believe it actually applies to the human brain tend to be). See Steven Pinker

  91. JC says:

    More nonsense from Steve, reflecting the bumpkin mentality that afflicts a disturbing large number of Australians when the topic moves to the US.

    Look at the way virtually any government intervention on the US’s objectively poorly performing health system is called “socialism” in the right wing blogosphere;

    The US doesn’t have a poorly preforming medical system. It in fact has the best medical system the world has to offer. Get sick, seriously sick and people that can afford it head to the US for treatment where there are docs that actually specialize within say a narrow field of cancer type.

    The US has a medical insurance problem which has been made worse by Obamacare. It’s also not true that the GOP hasn’t offered any alternatives to the old system or the expanded old system under Obamacare.

    The trouble for most Australians is the inability to think there could possibly be superior outcomes under a private insurance system. This is despite our own poorly performing Sovietized public hospital system that more and more resembles something out of a third world country.

  92. KB Keynes says:

    JC talking out of his bottom as usual.
    Our health system is usually is seen as far superior to the US system.

    The US system costs are in the ionosphere. Ours is well manageable.

    The Health system changes proposed by Obama will reduce health cares costs according to the CBO.

    if you cannot find out anything you simply make it up.

    Ken showing he is right again

  93. kelly liddle says:

    JC

    The overall system in Australia is much better we live longer. The fact if you can afford it in the US you get good healthcare doesn’t mean much to the average person who will die about 3 years earlier in the US versus Australia. I’ll stick to Soviet model if it works better. This does not mean there is no place for private healthcare just that the system in Aus is better.

  94. Dan says:

    [email protected]: Actually it’s bloody good in anything other than remote areas, a lot of my work is in health policy evaluation so I know that the supposed dysfunction of the system is a beat-up.

    The US insurance system on the other hand is a disaster. Here’s one that hit me hard: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_schuldiner#Battle_with_cancer

    Amazing musician, lived healthily, died at 34 leaving his mother with a $100,000 medical debt. Probably could’t have afforded insurance.

  95. JC, performance of a national health system is a concept that encompasses more than the results that the rich can get.

  96. Julie Thomas says:

    JFSoon

    A Pinker fan myself, I’m wondering what you think he is saying that the left don’t get?

  97. Dan says:

    [email protected]: Amen. I think when JC starts to talk about policy outcomes for things like health, education, etc. his lack of life experience and/or empathy for those less fortunate manifests alarmingly quickly.

  98. JC says:

    Homer:

    What Ken didn’t talk about was having an IQ limit as you’d be booted of every single blog in the world if it came to that.

    The actual treatment of illness is the medical system. The Australian system doesn’t come within a mile of the US system.

    Yes the US is expensive but that is another issue.

    Again you are confusing insurance with the medical system itself.

    …….

    Kelly

    Australian rates of longevity has more to do with our diet and the fact that we tend not to shoot each as often or have serious underclass issues. In a relative sense it doesn’t have a lot to do with the schlep sitting across the desk as you’re complaining about an attack of constipation.

    Don’t get shot, stay off the carbs, limit illicit drug use, avoid teen pregnancy and you too will live a longish life.

    —–

    I must say though, Australian plastic surgeons seem to be superior. During the last week I’ve been in NYC I’ve seen more botched face jobs than I could poke a stick at. Bulging lips and facial disfigurement are a dime a dozen here.

  99. jtfsoon says:

    A Pinker fan myself, I’m wondering what you think he is saying that the left don’t get?

    I’ve already referred you to the Blank Slate. And I said ‘the naive left’ which Chomsky doesn’t belong to, at least when it comes to non-economic and non-political science. Attacks on the significance of some degree of genetic determinism. ‘human nature’ and sociobiology have traditionally been more likely to come from some elements of the left than the right.

  100. FDB says:

    “See Steven Pinker”

    Good advice in general, Jason.

  101. Julie Thomas says:

    jtfsoon

    Well it might be true of old lefties but that’s the difference between left and right; the left are more often able to adapt to new ideas and modify their beliefs.

    Why one of my most rabid feminist friends has recently been heard to say about her ex “It wasn’t his fault; it was his genes”.

  102. JC says:

    JC, performance of a national health system is a concept that encompasses more than the results that the rich can get.

    Ah yes.. the 1%. Lol

    No one goes without medical treatment in the US. You go to emergency and will receive treatment…. that is treatment the very best western medical science has to offer.

    As a bumpkin though you would think the Australian public hospital system is great….that is if you avoid the staf and tape worm.

  103. KB Keynes says:

    JC ,

    Just for people who cannot think like yourself,

    Our system is far superior on almost any measure if a person is sick.
    The reason being is what you wrote about and full marks for showing how inadequate the US system is.

    no if it is expensive it follows private sector involvement is higher and fewer people of the population have access to health services but if you could think you might understand that.

  104. jtfsoon says:

    Fair enough Julie. I did qualify my remark about which ‘left’. In fact I was actually trying to say something complimentary about Chomsky in that comment.

  105. Ken Parish says:

    “The actual treatment of illness is the medical system. The Australian system doesn’t come within a mile of the US system.

    Yes the US is expensive but that is another issue.”

    Joe, you’re not really saying anything very useful. No doubt one could get excellent medical treatment in (say) Botswana if you can afford to fly in a top surgical team in a 747 fitted out with a state-of-the-art operating theatre and intensive care unit. However, since hardly anyone can afford that it’s an almost meaningless observation.

    The US system isn’t quite as much of a reductio ad absurdum as that, but access to quality health care is much more unequal and chancy than Australia. This passage is by an Aus private health insurer but it’s still a fair summary of the deficiencies of the US system:

    In the U.S. absolutely everyone – including those illegally in the country – are entitled to basic hospital emergency room care. This is regardless of an ability to pay. But this is where the public system stops and becomes a little convoluted. There is no further public coverage. In fact, it has been reported that the U.S. is the only ‘wealthy, industrialised nation that does not ensure that all citizens have (health care) coverage’+.

    It was estimated that in 2009 some 50.7 million U.S. residents were without health insurance. A 2009 Harvard study estimated 4,800 deaths occurred due to lack of health insurance+. Health care costs in the U.S. continue to rise and a study found that medical debt contributed to 46.2% of all personal bankruptcies++. These are rather confronting statistics.

    In the U.S. private health insurance is available, but compared to countries like Australia it’s expensive. Nationwide private health insurance premiums in the U.S. have been reported as averaging at a cost of $2,613 for individuals and $5,799 for families.+++ And compared to private health insurance in Australia, the U.S. is really very fragmented. There are many different providers and the offering is very complicated.

    Many people in the U.S. are covered for private health insurance through their jobs. In this instance, the company makes a substantial contribution towards the cost of coverage – typically covering the employee for 85% of the premium cost and the employee’s dependents for 75% of the premium costs. The company saves through volume. However, the employee has little or no choice as to the health care provider and coverage levels. And very importantly, health care is linked to employment. There is little or no ‘portability’. So if unemployment arises, health cover is lost with it.

    Obamacare was in my understanding designed to address these gaps and deficiencies and achieve something more closely resembling the Australian norm of universal health cover. Whether it does so effectively and efficiently is another question.

  106. kelly liddle says:

    “Australian rates of longevity has more to do with our diet and the fact that we tend not to shoot each as often or have serious underclass issues.”

    JC it actually doesn’t matter what the reason is in a wholistic sense Australia is better. Diet and smoking rates are at least in part due to public education campaigns.

  107. JC says:

    I actually am saying something quite useful, Ken. You’re making the same error in confusing the delivery/treatment of medical services and the way it is purchased/medical insurance, which I have conceded is pretty bad. However saying it’s “bad” doesn’t in any way make a case against privatized medical insurance as the US is a government mandated system absolutely top heavy with intervention.

    In the U.S. absolutely everyone – including those illegally in the country – are entitled to basic hospital emergency room care. This is regardless of an ability to pay. But this is where the public system stops and becomes a little convoluted. There is no further public coverage. In fact, it has been reported that the U.S. is the only ‘wealthy, industrialised nation that does not ensure that all citizens have (health care) coverage’+.

    A coupla things. Our own system doesn’t fully cover illegal immigrants either and Illegals find themselves in the same circumstances as those in the US when attempting to get treatment. They go to emergency and the hospital demands payment. I welcome anyone here to suggest we’re far more generous in offering free medical care to people not on Medicare and unable to foot the bill if they’re foreigners.

    The move from emergency to a ward occurs in the US, as it does here in Australia. If the US system is convoluted, it is convoluted because most things there are convoluted. In the health care side even more so as the system is primarily state based.

    Australia also doesn’t have 12 million illegals 4% of the population. If we did how much do you want to bet we’d be far stingier than the US. Government could be won or lost depending on 13,000 boat people arriving at or border. Imagine for moment that 4% of our population was illegal and what public perception would be with regards to the provision of free health care.

    It was estimated that in 2009 some 50.7 million U.S. residents were without health insurance. A 2009 Harvard study estimated 4,800 deaths occurred due to lack of health insurance+. Health care costs in the U.S. continue to rise and a study found that medical debt contributed to 46.2% of all personal bankruptcies++. These are rather confronting statistics.

    First off the figure was found to be 30 million not 50 million as the Democrat party was spinning. A lot of those people chose not to go with healthcare insurance, were illegal (12 million), or really were too stupid to get cover through medicare.

    Poor people are covered under US Medicare, so it’s not the poor that do not have coverage. A large number happen to be self employed taking a chance.

    In the U.S. private health insurance is available, but compared to countries like Australia it’s expensive. Nationwide private health insurance premiums in the U.S. have been reported as averaging at a cost of $2,613 for individuals and $5,799 for families.+++ And compared to private health insurance in Australia, the U.S. is really very fragmented. There are many different providers and the offering is very complicated.

    No shit. Every single state government tailor’s the state mandates making in impossible to offer nationwide plans thereby making it difficult to get economies of scale and other benefits.

    Again, this is not a market problem.

    Many people in the U.S. are covered for private health insurance through their jobs. In this instance, the company makes a substantial contribution towards the cost of coverage – typically covering the employee for 85% of the premium cost and the employee’s dependents for 75% of the premium costs. The company saves through volume. However, the employee has little or no choice as to the health care provider and coverage levels. And very importantly, health care is linked to employment. There is little or no ‘portability’. So if unemployment arises, health cover is lost with it.

    Actually it is not lost as insurance is still available through COBRA, so the writer doesn’t seem to know.

    Again this is an insurance problem for the most part and speaks nothing about the system itself in being able to deliver quality service.

    Furthermore, lets be very clear. The poor in America are covered through US Medicare so this is not a discussion about the poor not receiving health insurance. They do, however Australian Bumpkinasia doesn’t ever seem to get this point.

  108. Dan says:

    JC: did you have a look at my link @95? Not a great outcome by any standard, no?

  109. JC says:

    I did Dan. However it sort of proves the point that it’s not the poor getting hit with high medical bills, it’s self employed like the dude you linked to who seemed to have been making enough money to buy insurance and chose not to.

    My view is that if he was stupid enough not to have bought insurance, he deserved the full cost of treatment. Why would you want to socialize his costs anyway, when it appears he was able to afford insurance?

  110. Dan says:

    I can promise that underground music doesn’t make anyone any more than a subsistence wage. You can say stupid if you want, I’ll go with passionate and driven.

  111. Tom N. says:

    Why would you want to socialize his costs anyway, when it appears he was able to afford insurance?

    Horizontal equity.

  112. JC says:

    Horizontal equity.

    Moral hazard.

  113. JC says:

    Dan

    Unless he was truly stupid or perhaps illiterate he would have been on medicare if he was really poor as you seem to suggest but don’t know for certain.

    So basically he was a self employed dude avoiding medical insurance. Frankly if he was given a bill for 70K he or his immediate family seem to have had 70K lying around.

  114. Dan says:

    Huh? I call BS. There are thousands of uninsured artists in the US. Given the cost of insurance the guy could have done a CBA and made the call he did.

    As for moral hazard, he didn’t wear the cost, his mum did. That simply sucks.

  115. kelly liddle says:

    “My view is that if he was stupid enough not to have bought insurance”

    JC your stance is now becoming absurd. So if you are too stupid or lazy to get a job you should have healthcare and if you work and take a chance by not carrying out a full risk assesment on your health you should be thrown to the wolves. It should also be noted that insurers make money and therefore on average having insurance will make you poorer.

  116. Amusingly, I see that American Republicans have been carrying on like pork chops about the e-vil socialist effects of Medicare (US) ever since it was set up in the 60’s. From the Wikipedia entry on the program:

    Ronald Reagan, as part of Operation Coffee Cup in 1961, stated that: “[I]f you don’t [stop Medicare] and I don’t do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.”[73]

    George H. W. Bush, while a candidate for the US Senate in 1964, described Medicare as “socialized medicine.”[74]

    Barry Goldwater in 1964: “Having given our pensioners their medical care in kind, why not food baskets, why not public housing accommodations, why not vacation resorts, why not a ration of cigarettes for those who smoke and of beer for those who drink.”[75]

    In 1995 Bob Dole stated that he was one of 12 House members who voted against creating Medicare in 1965. “I was there, fighting the fight, voting against Medicare … because we knew it wouldn’t work in 1965.”

    So I was wrong to think the Tea Party objection to socialised medicine was a relatively new ideological bugbear in the States. It just seems to be a country where silly catch cries have been around a long time.

  117. Oh, and here’s a Wikipedia entry on Ronald Reagan’s 1961 10 minute recording Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine sponsored by the AMA.

    The article also refers to this:

    Reagan cites the failure of president Harry Truman’s national health insurance proposal as evidence of the American people’s rejection of socialized medicine.

    Well, they dodged a bullet there, didn’t they? (Rolls eyes.)

  118. JC says:

    Kelly

    If you are poor and unemployed in the US you receive medicare. WTF does being thrown to the wolves come from? Who eggsactly is being thrown to the wolves?

    Our food supply is basically provided through private means and therefore according to your line of thinking we ought to nationalize it because.. you know, farmers are making a profit making it more expensive.

    Since when did the word profit become a dirty word? Since when does profit suggest inefficiency?

    And by the way our own private health insurers make profits too, but you seem to have an issue with the American carriers. I would take a blind bet US carriers are making less of a net margin than ours.

    ———–

    Dan

    This story seems difficult to believe. He didn’t have health insurance because he couldn’t afford it, according to you.. He couldn’t afford it because he was too poor, but his mother forked over the money when she didn’t have to as he would have received the same treatment without the money changing hands. He was poor but wasn’t on medicare.

    Color me purple but something is amiss in this hard luck story.

    I gotta go and get some sleep.

  119. And one more clipping on this (I hope someone else finds this of interest – I had no idea there was such a long history of attempts to have national health insurance in the country):

    The U.S. has flirted with some kind of national health policy six times over the past 100 years, only to see the reform impulse wither each time. For instance, a key plank in Theodore Roosevelt’s losing Presidential campaign of 1912 was national health insurance. President Harry Truman tried again after World War II, but he was thwarted by a potent combination of political forces, including the vehement opposition of the American Medical Assn., which was determined to defend doctors’ incomes against the threat of “socialized” medicine.

    The Clinton Administration’s health-care initiative of 1993 collapsed a year later, after conservatives, physicians, and insurance companies mounted a well-orchestrated attack. “Major changes in health policy, like major changes in any area, are political acts, undertaken for political purposes,” Victor Fuchs, the dean of health economists, wrote in his 1993 book, The Future of Health Policy.

  120. JC says:

    Steve

    Yep, Reagan was right. US Socialized medicine would have been a disaster not just for the US, but the rest of the world.

    I’m guessing you think US pharma R&D would have occurred at the same rate and speed as under socialized medicine.. Like Britain has been a veritable font of new discoveries in the the medical field.

    Note that Frog, German, Swiss, Northern Italy were world leaders in pharma R&D up until the point socialized medicine was introduced. The US was way behind. Go take a look where they are these days since leading the field compared to the US.

  121. Dan says:

    Yeah although Nixon tried to get something up that looked a little like ObamaCare.

  122. kelly liddle says:

    JC

    You take my comments out of context. You said how if you are too stupid to get health insurance then whatever you get is your problem. Yet you think it is ok for those who don’t even have a job to get everything and like the example of the person with the mother left with $100 000 debt you think this is OK. You do not see the lack of equity in this situation? Also there is a strong possibility that many of those who go bankrupt due to medical expenses become less productive members of society because they are likely to give up.

  123. JC you seem to think the world’s a binary choice of either having health care like Cuba’s, or that at Mount Sinai, New York.

    Tribalist.

  124. KB Keynes says:

    Actually Steve neither is any system you would want to copy.

    the last time I looked ( which was some time ago) the French had the benchmark everyone else had to get to. not a lot of private sector there as one might expect.

    Just to illuminate Obama proposed increased private insurance for everyone. This was a lot earlier proposed by the AEI and of of course implemented in Massachusetts by Romney.

    Howard here implemented ‘compulsory’ health insurance the nasty socialist

  125. Mel says:

    I wonder if there is a pill that could help Homer appreciate the value of the comma?

  126. Mel says:

    Also this:

    “A new study by two York University researchers estimates the U.S. pharmaceutical industry spends almost twice as much on promotion as it does on research and development …”

    I bet the buggers also spend a few hundred million bucks each year snogging politicians.

  127. Dan says:

    [email protected]: Huh? It all adds up just fine.

    Like many poorer (but not poor poor) people in the US, Chuck had no insurance. He lived right and, after all, who gets brain cancer in their early thirties?

    He was really unlucky.

    He fought with the aid of an undoubtedly excellent but nonetheless expensive treatment regimen, but sadly lost.

    There was a bill to pay.

    It’s straightforward. And frankly I’d believe Jane Schuldiner’s account of the events over your scrabbling for outs.

  128. Dan says:

    *Sigh*

    It’s just ridiculous. When confronted with the actual injustice and dysfunctionality of the US health care system, your thoughts don’t go to how to fix it, but to how the affected parties are guilty, stupid, or liars.

    Thanks for actually living up to the caricature of conservatism. I’m impressed.

  129. Mel says:

    A recent Harvard study shows a dramatic increase in personal bankruptcy filings related to medical expenses.

    In 2007, 62 percent of all personal bankruptcies were linked to medical bills. That’s nearly 20 percent more than reported in 2001. And in most cases, those who sought bankruptcy protection had middle-class earnings; nearly 80 percent were covered by health insurance.

    Another Harvard study puts the American death toll attributable to a lack of insurance at a lazy 45,000 per annum.

    Sounds like a great system. Meanwhile U.S. Big Pharma seems to be vigorously inventing new pills for dubious new illnesses, such as Restless Leg Syndrome ….

  130. PSC says:

    I’m guessing you think US pharma R&D would have occurred at the same rate and speed as under socialized medicine.. Like Britain has been a veritable font of new discoveries in the the medical field.

    A big pharma R&D costs about 5-8bn a year.

    The NIH budget is about 30bn a year.

    Even in the US, the majority of medical research is done by the government. And it’s still peanuts in the scheme of things; US medical expenditure is around 17% of GDP, or around 2,450bn.

    If we lop off a healthy overestimate for R&D, we get US medical expenditure net of R&D at say 16% of GDP. Which is way bigger than every other western country with longer life expectency, at around 8-10% of their much smaller GDPs.

    And on the subject of the veritable font from the UK; which country invented the CAT scan? Which country is GSK based in?

  131. jc says:

    The so called harvard study on personal bankruptcies was an out and out fraud. This is the academic the Obama administration dropped under a bus for bring an extremist loon.

    Elizabeth Warren led the “research” and she’s now become a demolition party candidate. How surprising.

  132. JC says:

    It’s just ridiculous. When confronted with the actual injustice and dysfunctionality of the US health care system, your thoughts don’t go to how to fix it, but to how the affected parties are guilty, stupid, or liars.

    Thanks for actually living up to the caricature of conservatism. I’m impressed.

    Dan

    That’s a cheap shot. The best way to reform the US system.

    1. Run a voucher system like Milt always implored.

    2. reform medical malpractice plundering.

    3. Attempt to limit state based mandates to the min. in order to foster nationally based plans

    4. Finesse pre-existing conditions practices so everyone is covered.

    5. Mandate medical insurance for all or find some other way if the courts soon decide such a requirement is illegal.

    Most certainly you would want to remove the nexus between employment and medical insurance.

    What amazes me is how people seem to think our soviet model is somehow superior.

  133. TerjeP says:

    In the Australian context my preferred set of reforms in health care run soothe thing like this:-

    1. Acknowledge that the Medicare levy would need to be around 9% to really cover the cost of public health (as per budget figures).

    2. Make Medicare a payment system (like a credit card) where you get a statement each quarter showing medical costs expended. Require that individuals pay back the cost of services incurred on their Medicare card or else roll it over as a debt to the HECS scheme. Individuals would need to pay back any such debts via the tax system. In many instances repaying the HECS debt could be very painful but never financially crippling because it is income contingent.

    3. Cut taxes by the corresponding savings. This would probably be a bit below 9% making provision for bad debts, end of life type scenarios. However it would still be a very healthy tax cut with knock on improvements to private welfare.

    4. Encourage people to avoid large HECS debts due to medical costs by taking out private insurance to cover medical expenses paid for out of pocket or those paid for via the revised the revised medicare payment system. However treat people like adults and do not mandate that they have such insurance.

    Such an approach would leave the market quite open. However it would also ensure nobody is left without medical services due to financial constraints. I think it strikes a good balance between personal responsibility and social concern. However the real merit is that it provides an open market for insurance with lots of space for innovation in cost control and service delivery models.

  134. kelly liddle says:

    TerjeP

    You put forward a good and interesting ideas but being health it is important also to consider that underservicing of people can also be much more costly in the end especially if it is transmissable disease or something. If people are worried about money they might put off seeing a doctor. So I would suggest the point at where the debt starts to be paid back should be quite high.

  135. Yobbo says:

    A big issue in the US seems to be the lack of GPs, which is why medical bills are so high in general. For the sort of stuff we in Australia are seeing a GP for, Americans are seeing specialists.

  136. So after telling us yesterday that a guy who didn’t have insurance but could have took a gamble and lost, JC says today that making insurance compulsory is a good idea after all. (Which according to Yobbo, I guess, is “socialism”.)

    As with climate change, JC, hearing the loudness of your own voice and making childish insults of others always seems more important to you than being clear or consistent.

  137. Pedro says:

    Come on, fuck health care, its time for a climate change thread of doom.

    Carbon tax exposed as stupid as soon as it is passed!
    http://www.theage.com.au/world/rich-nations-give-up-on-climate-treaty-20111121-1nr1r.html#ixzz1eMtfZdvb

  138. jtfsoon says:

    Re Pedro’s link:

    This has been the strongest argument against mitigation as opposed to adaptation all along. I have always been pessimistic about the chance of a global agreement though I would not have opposed one. There was no need for the right to throw in their lot with Lord Monckton and other assorted cranks.

  139. A comment piece in Nature “Letting go of Kyoto” argues against getting too preoccupied with binding commitments.

    Jason, the right helped ensure the defeat of global agreement by seeding domestic doubt by throwing their lot in with Monckton. The circularity of them then saying “see, internationally no one cares” has therefore always been offensive.

    Of course, a new global record to beat 1998 temperatures would help too, and with any luck that will happen in the next couple of years and the argument the lukewarmers are pinning their hopes on will dissolve. (I am confident they are wrong, and I would hope they be proved wrong sooner rather than later.)

  140. jtfsoon says:

    steve
    you are giving too much credit to the likes of Lord Monckton, Jo Nova etc if you think they had anything to do with the failure of Kyoto type agreements. Agreement on climate change was always going to be plagued by free rider issues. This is way different from CFCs because CFCs simply were not comparable in economic value to energy.

  141. You’re putting it too far the other way – climate change denial is a huge force within Republican circles, and it is based on the likes of a handful of lukewarmer scientists and confusionists such as Spencer, Pielke Snr, Christy as well as the mere popularisers like Monckton and Watts.

  142. My point being that if you have the US approaching the question of binding agreement without having serious domestic support for it, well then yes, it is hard to see how an international binding agreement could have any possibility.

  143. Fyodor says:

    Come on, fuck health care, its time for a climate change thread of doom.

    Game on.

    Of course, a new global record to beat 1998 temperatures would help too, and with any luck that will happen in the next couple of years and the argument the lukewarmers are pinning their hopes on will dissolve. (I am confident they are wrong, and I would hope they be proved wrong sooner rather than later.)

    So, Steve, the last 13 years of data suggests you’re wrong, you’re counting on “luck” to help you out of this empirical quandary and yet you claim the other side are relying on “hope”? Is that right?

  144. Dan says:

    Fyodor, Steve: you’re both conflating long-term climate trends with outlier years.

  145. I’m not interesting in going into the nitty gritty on this, and don’t have time today anyway.

    What has been going on in the temperature record over the last 13 years is not at all fatal to the big picture of AGW predictions, yet obviously it would make the political argument easier for the “CO2 action” side if Roy Spencer’s graph (for example) showed another 1998-like spike sooner rather than later.

  146. Fyodor says:

    What’s the “long-term” trend, Dan?

  147. Fyodor, you might want to read this post by Tamino, about the recent trends via the BEST analysis.

  148. TerjeP says:

    Kelly – I would not set the income at which repayment starts too high. However I would think that the rate of repayment should be quite progressive. So you would start repaying at a modest rate early but at higher incomes you would repay much quicker. However this is presumably already taken into account with regards to HECS debts which is why I would integrate into that existing system rather than inventing some additional new repayment system. Of course those that do bother to insure should not have much financial stress at all and the stress of an income contingent loan for those without insurance should mean next to nobody (except perhaps illegal immigrants) will forgo medical assistance due to financial concerns.

    Part of the problem with compulsory insurance is that the government then mandates which insurance qualifies and which does not. It leaves little scope for product innovation or more holistic cost management approaches. My recommendation gets the government out of the insurance space, allows consumes lots of choice but also preserves access to health care for the financially troubled. I think it strikes an excellent balance between social objectives and economic efficiency as well as requiring only modest administrative reform.

  149. KB Keynes says:

    Fyodor should know that using 1998 as a base one cannot get a statistical significant figure as yet

    For reasons why see John Quiggin’s demolition of Richard Lindzen’s absurd argument about temperature levels since 1995. Amazingly once you could get the sample to the right size then temperatures were rising at a statistically significant rate.

  150. Fyodor says:

    Fyodor, you might want to read this post by Tamino, about the recent trends via the BEST analysis.

    Why? What did you find in Tamino’s “tribalist” cheerleading that was so enlightening?

    Fyodor should know that using 1998 as a base one cannot get a statistical significant figure as yet

    Yes, known. Which year should we use to as a base provide statistical significance for the global long-term temperature record, Homerkles?

    For reasons why see John Quiggin’s demolition of Richard Lindzen’s absurd argument about temperature levels since 1995. Amazingly once you could get the sample to the right size then temperatures were rising at a statistically significant rate.

    Link, please.

  151. Boring, Fyodor. You’re like arguing with the massed collection of twits at Catallaxy, who either won’t read things that are linked to, or if they do, come back and say “so what”.

  152. Fyodor says:

    That’s not an answer, “don’t have time today” Steve.

  153. KB Keynes says:

    Link yourself you lazy urchin.
    go to his blog and put in Lindzen and see what you get.
    no do not do it. you will get a headache when he talks about statisitcal tests.

    Steve,

    He had the temerity to say someone who gave two decades of data cherry-picked his data on another subject so he is simply reinforcing what Ken wrote here.

  154. Fyodor says:

    Link yourself you lazy urchin.
    go to his blog and put in Lindzen and see what you get.
    no do not do it. you will get a headache when he talks about statisitcal tests.

    It’s your reference, Homer, the onus is on you to produce it.

    Steve,

    He had the temerity to say someone who gave two decades of data cherry-picked his data on another subject so he is simply reinforcing what Ken wrote here.

    Again: link, please.

  155. kelly liddle says:

    TerjeP

    Well I reckon you should actually give your idea to whoever the shadow health minister is. I do think the idea is good enough for that.

  156. Dan says:

    Club Troppo: Not Tribal, Personal.

  157. KB Keynes says:

    No Fyodor I mentioned it.

    you want it look for it. It isn’t hard.

    Same on the other one.

  158. Fyodor says:

    No Fyodor I mentioned it.

    you want it look for it. It isn’t hard.

    Same on the other one.

    If it isn’t hard to do, produce it/them. Stop squibbing.

  159. TerjeP says:

    Kelly – thanks for the support. I have been meaning to formalise it for some time.

  160. KB Keynes says:

    You need to look for it then do it.

    It isn’t to hard to figure out why Lindzen was wrong though.

    If temperature levels from 1995 are rising at a statistical significant level but it is impossible to say that for figures starting from 1998.

    of course if you did know then your original reply to steve is at your specious best , if you do not know then the sentence makes complete nonsense.

  161. Pedro says:

    Steve from Here, if you look our your rear window you should see the point disappearing over the horizon.

    It doesn’t matter what are the facts about temperature trends or evil goggle-eyed right-wingers sabotaging a global deal. Even if you assume a catastrophic temperature rise is happening, the fact of there being no serious global effort pulls the rug right out from under the carbon tax. So have to ask yourself, as that simple point is reviewed again and again over the next couple of years, how will people feel about that tax?

    “A comment piece in Nature “Letting go of Kyoto” argues against getting too preoccupied with binding commitments.”

    “A preoccupation with binding commitments blocks progress in climate-change
    negotiations. It is time to correct course, says Elliot Diringer.”

    Yes, you can agree lots if it doesn’t mean anything. The AGW version of does my bum look big in this.

    “Of course, a new global record to beat 1998 temperatures would help too, and with any luck that will happen in the next couple of years”

    You’d rather a catastrophe than be proved wrong? Okey dokey. Is this the intellectual collapse of the left?

  162. You’d rather a catastrophe than be proved wrong? Okey dokey. Is this the intellectual collapse of the left?

    No. If I recall correctly, the world survived the el nino peak of 1998 and is still here. My reasons for saying it would be better for it to come sooner rather than later are plan, and are motivated by the intellectual feebleness of the likes of you.

  163. Useful diagram at Skeptical Science showing all of the “cooling trends” of the last 40 years.

  164. Pedro says:

    Steve, you’re in line for the World Point-Missing Championships. Let’s hope you won’t have a calender clash with the Dopiest Put-Down Regatta.

    Still, as an optimist I think pretty much anyone ought to be able to see sense, so let’s give it the old college try.

    For $64,000:

    “Introducing a Carbon Tax in the absence of an effective approach to global co2 reductions will:

    A – Save the barrier reef and your beach house.

    B – Secure our place in heaven.

    C – Save the government by showing their true mettle and committment to quality policy.

    D – Do sweet Eff all for the environment while reducing future economic growth and thus our ability to afford any necessary adaptation to climate change.

  165. Pedro, I do not accept the premises of your question. Hence the answer is “none of the above”.

  166. Dan says:

    E – Encourage big pollutors to reduce emissions but even if you don’t care about that serve as a redistributive tax.

  167. Pedro says:

    Wot, redistribute emission intensive jobs to China? Surely if you want to redistribute you should pick a different tax

  168. Dan says:

    Are you playing dumb?

  169. KB Keynes says:

    Pedro,

    if the ETS does curb economic growth then it MUST have curbed carbon emissions to a significant degree.

    This sounds like typical catallaxian logic. It will somehow have a larger impact on the economy than the GST despite raising less than a fifth of the revenue and at the same time have no impact on carbon emissions.

    Ken is right again

  170. Pedro says:

    Dan are you reading dumb? You want to help the poor with a job destroying regressive tax? Okey dokey.

    Homer, and the reduction in global emissions will be?

  171. Dan says:

    Pedro, the money isn’t blasted off into space. It’s redirected.

  172. Dan says:

    Anyway, rather than arguing with the wilfully oblivious, I’ll just say: wait and see.

  173. Pedro says:

    So I should wait and see whether the carbon tax saves the planet, or whether it is good for the poor.

  174. Dan says:

    Whether it ruins the economy and/or destroys jobs.

  175. Dan says:

    (I readily acknowledge that on its own our carbon tax/ETS is not going to save the planet. But the “why us, why now” arguments don’t stack up – that’s just basic collective action problem stuff.)

  176. KB Keynes says:

    nice straw man Pedro

    Ken right again

  177. Pedro says:

    What straw man homer? A tax to save the environment that doesn’t save the environment is a failure. If emissions aren’t meaningfully reduced then why move to higher cost energy.

    Dan, the collective action problem does not justify pointless single acts. Those arguments do stack up. Your only argument for the tax is a bit of redistribution you could do much more effectively with a different tax. And anyway the carbon tax is not promoted as a social justice measure.

  178. Fyodor says:

    You need to look for it then do it.

    No, I’ve established this fact: it’s your source, not mine – YOU produce it.

    It isn’t to hard to figure out why Lindzen was wrong though.

    If it isn’t hard, why haven’t you done it yet?

    If temperature levels from 1995 are rising at a statistical significant level but it is impossible to say that for figures starting from 1998.

    of course if you did know then your original reply to steve is at your specious best , if you do not know then the sentence makes complete nonsense.

    Your sentence “makes complete nonsense” [sic] regardless of what I do or don’t know.

    Please link to someone who can argue the point in coherent English. There’s a good lad.

  179. Dan says:

    Pedro,

    “Dan, the collective action problem does not justify pointless single acts.”

    By definition, pointless acts are pointless. But that’s a bargain basement escape attempt. If on the other hand, it has effects like a) showing regional leadership (with luck leading to other countries attempting similar policies), b) preparing Australia for a low-emission future, or c) R&D in low emissions technologies that we can then make a killing on while the rest of the world struggles to catch up (bear in mind: everyone agrees that oil supplies are diminishing), then pointless the carbon tax is not.

    “And anyway the carbon tax is not promoted as a social justice measure.”

    US military expenditure is not promoted as Keynesian stimulus either. But it has that property nonetheless.

  180. Pedro says:

    The evidence is that regional leadership is a pipedream. If preparing for a low carbon future is an economic benefit the treasury would not be admitting lower growth. The dubious R&D claim does not require the carbon tax. The fact is you’re not even really trying.

    Oh military spending is promoted as stimulative. And, it actually providings goods that people value, as you will surely. Optics each Anzac day

  181. KB Keynes says:

    no old son, if you want it go look for it.

    Be a good little boy and do what I said.go to Quiggin’s blog and type in Lindzen.wow

    I warn you, you will get a headache as John talks about statistical techniques and how many numbers you need !

    It isn’t hard I have given you hints so we can deduce from that what you wrote to Steve was in fact not specious nonsense but ignorant cant.

    Pedro,

    Straw man as in world emissions. It is an ETS on emissions here and by the way have you noticed the Treasury assumptions

  182. Fyodor can also go check this post at Skeptical Science, if he hasn’t seen it before.

  183. Dan says:

    [email protected]: so are the Chinese provinces that have introduced carbon taxes just misguided too?

    “Oh military spending is promoted as stimulative.” Really? I’d love to see you get a US right-winger to agree with that assertion.

  184. Mel says:

    Pedro:

    “Dan, the collective action problem does not justify pointless single acts. ”

    That is a dishonest or ignorant claim since many other acts have been take elsewhere. Of course these acts are far too few, but we will not be in a position to judge if they are pointless or not until we see what further actions other countries take over the next few decades.

    Historically, the predicted cost of environmental regulation is usually inflated by several orders of magnitude by both industry and government:

    Not only do industry lobbyists wildly overestimate the costs of proposed environmental regulations. More surprisingly, academic and government economists consistently do too—and for an equally surprising reason. When forecasting the costs of new environmental regulations, economic analysts routinely ignore a primary economic lesson: Markets cut costs through innovation. And innovation can be promoted through regulation. This history is worth bearing in mind as we approach the most important environmental controversy to date—how to deal with the crisis of global warming.

    Our resident delicate, blushing petals (Pedro, Fyodor etc.) needn’t fear having their cherries popped by the rapacious carbon price bogeyman.

  185. Dan says:

    Necessity is the etc. etc.

  186. Fyodor says:

    no old son, if you want it go look for it.

    Be a good little boy and do what I said.go to Quiggin’s blog and type in Lindzen.wow

    Another squib.

    I warn you, you will get a headache as John talks about statistical techniques and how many numbers you need !

    Very droll, given your very limited grasp of statistics and econometrics.

    It isn’t hard I have given you hints so we can deduce from that what you wrote to Steve was in fact not specious nonsense but ignorant cant.

    Translate into English, please.

    Fyodor can also go check this post at Skeptical Science, if he hasn’t seen it before.

    Thanks, “don’t have time today” Steve, and, yes, I have seen it before.

    Church et al don’t measure heat; they estimate it. FAIL.

  187. Fyodor – what did I predict before – you would go to a link and say “so what?”

    You’re confirming you are not worth engaging with on the issue.

  188. Pedro says:

    [email protected]: so are the Chinese provinces that have introduced carbon taxes just misguided too?”

    Maybe, I don’t know what they are doing with their taxes. Surely you’re not claiming that a policy is good because some people in China are doing it? As arguments from authority go, that’s a doozy.http://report2009.amnesty.org/en/regions/asia-pacific/china

    Mel: “Of course these acts are far too few”

    So we agree not enough is being done to shift global emissions. Ok so far.

    “but we will not be in a position to judge if they are pointless or not until we see what further actions other countries take over the next few decades”

    Yes exactly, so lets wait till then.

    “Historically, the predicted cost of environmental regulation is usually inflated”

    So, if there is a cost, and that’s the best information we currently have, then why do it if the pointfulness of the tax can’t be judged for decades and will first require other countries to take actions that they currently don’t seem to be taking.

    How does our agreement on the facts lead to you claiming my conclusions are dishonest? Oh, your just abusing me because you don’t like what I say.

    and don’t blame me I just posted a link to a story in the Age.

  189. Fyodor says:

    Fyodor – what did I predict before – you would go to a link and say “so what?”

    I didn’t say “so what?”; I implied your argument is bullshit. That is, you’re wrong.

    You’re confirming you are not worth engaging with on the issue.

    You’re confirming your inability to front your argument without flouncing off in a self-righteous huff. For the second time today, no less.

  190. KB Keynes says:

    no old son a person with a limited understanding of statistics would say this..”
    So, Steve, the last 13 years of data suggests you’re wrong, you’re counting on “luck” to help you out of this empirical quandary and yet you claim the other side are relying on “hope”? Is that right?”

    no link to this rubbish either

  191. Fyodor says:

    Why not?

    Statistically, what do you suggest is wrong with it?

  192. PSC says:

    Let’s suppose world temperatures follow a simple autoregressive or arma model. If there is a trend, in general the confidence interval you can place around that trend gets smaller as the time series with which you’re estimating the coefficients gets larger.

    It happens that if you use an AR(1)+trend model or ARMA(1,1)+trend model on 20 year data for any 20 year window you can get reasonably tight confidence intervals on the trend. For 10 year windows you can’t. There’s a sweet spot in-between where the confidence intervals get tight.

    None of this is news.

    This phenomenon has been described at least in the late 80s where I’ve read it, and probably before then.

  193. PSC says:

    “on 20 year data for any 20 year window”

    This is gabble. I mean, “estimating the model coefficients from 20 years of monthly data, with an end-point for the estimation period any time in the last 20 years” (and indeed I think I confirmed this going back to the 60s, but I’d have to dig out my notes).

  194. Lazlo says:

    For reasons why see John Quiggin’s demolition of Richard Lindzen’s absurd argument about temperature levels since 1995.

    Would that be the same absurd argument as Phil Jones’ – no statistically significant warming since 1995 – or a different one?

  195. KB Keynes says:

    Fyodor, how many annual observations of years data do you need to get a statistically significant figure?

  196. Patrick says:

    The only real questions are:
    1) Is there a hope in hell of global action to reduce carbon emissions?
    2) What else will the tax achieve – desirable and undesirable?
    3) Could any desirable outcomes identified be better achieved by another method?

    Since we already had a plan to tax tradeable carbon with much lower impact on jobs and the blue-collar communities that the greens despise so (MRRT), I for one am deeply sceptical that the carbon tax makes any sense.

    I find the idea that it represents a form of admirable global leadership which will inspire others to emulate us falls somewhere between the cretinous and the inane, although I’m more indulgent when it is put forward by children and Age readers.

  197. Dan says:

    Pedro, Patrick: the idea that other countries aren’t already undertaking action is a fiction, and you know it.

  198. KB Keynes says:

    ask them about the UK?

  199. Pedro says:

    Dan, that’s not the claim.

    The claim is: that there is not sufficient global action being taken; our “contribution” is environmentally meaningless; therefore there is no sensible reason to cop the cost of taking environmentally meaningless action.

    Your whole approach consists of skipping from specious justification, to strawman, to fantasy.

    As I said earlier, the argument does not require a denial of the science, only the acceptance of the implications of the emission reduction reality.

    Here’s a new claim
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/europes-287bn-carbon-waste-ubs-report/story-fn59niix-1226203068972

  200. Dan says:

    It’s behind a paywall, and frankly if I’m giving Rupert Murdoch my bucks it’ll be for Fox Searchlight productions, not that turdrag. Can you please link to the UBS report?

  201. Pedro says:

    The oz is free for three months.

  202. Dan says:

    Nonetheless…? I’d really like to read the report, but can’t see it on UBS’ site.

  203. Fyodor says:

    Fyodor, how many annual observations of years data do you need to get a statistically significant figure?

    A statistically significant figure for what?

  204. Dan says:

    Incidentally, to the Pedros and Patricks – I’m not Pollyannaish on the chances of averting catastrophe – rather cynical and pessimistic actually – but I do think it behoves us to salvage whatever we can.

  205. Fyodor says:

    I do think it behoves us to salvage whatever we can.

    Please start with Audrey Tautou.

  206. KB Keynes says:

    Foyodor given you have been shown up here now onyour wonderful statistics knowledge why not completely go down the idiot track and say the CRA caused the sub-prime debacle or how about even suggesting we are close to experiencing European problems.

  207. JC says:

    Please start with Audrey Tautou.

    And God created woman. She’s really really hot. French bonds ought to trade below German 10 year just because of her.

  208. Patrick says:

    [email protected], sure, go for your life, but what is the carbon tax salvaging, exactly?

    [email protected], typing impaired [email protected], so what about what the UK is doing? I thought, to recap yr 8, that the atmosphere (which – in layman’s terms since I don’t know what the difference between that and the ionosphere etc is – is where I believe all the carbon hangs around) is global, and that thus it doesn’t matter if one or two or 30 countries do anything unless it has a global impact (i.e. if China and the US signed up).

    So to repeat, do you consider that there is a hope in hell of global action to reduce carbon emissions?

    Or I can try a different tack: do you think there is a hope in hell of global emissions not growing by far more than Australia’s entire output in the next ten years?

  209. JC says:

    Getting back to the point of the thread.

    I would have expected an apology from Homer (on this thread) instead of having the audacity and temerity to attack others.

    Let me remind you Homer, that it was your rank tribalism that got you to suggest Skanky Ho was in fact Skanke Ho an Asian Warlord’s mistress instead of the American ghetto slang.

    How you still avoid an apology is beyond human reason.

  210. Fyodor says:

    Foyodor given you have been shown up here now onyour wonderful statistics knowledge why not completely go down the idiot track and say the CRA caused the sub-prime debacle or how about even suggesting we are close to experiencing European problems.

    Where have I been “shown up” on my “wonderful statistics knowledge” and what does CRA have to do with the price of fish?

    Also: answer the question.

    She’s really really hot.

    Yes, indeed.

  211. KB Keynes says:

    JC it was your idiocy that tried to show I was wrong even though Soony showed in a transcript there were 5 yes that’s right 5 different definitions of it.yet you , Soony and the rest of the Catallaxian collective still wanted to lie about it.

    Amazing.

    ken proven right again. We constantly see black is white at Catallaxy. This is yet anther example of it.

    Ah Fyodor feigning ignorance badly.

    What does CRA have to do with the price of fish? Well I have already said that.

  212. jtfsoon says:

    Homer
    don’t try to drag me into this. You cannot seriously defend your stupidity in believing that ‘skanke ho’ was a term invented by the ALP Right by referring to some idiotic site on the Internet. You do know that anyone can publish whatever they want online don’t you?

  213. jtfsoon says:

    ken proven right again. We constantly see black is white at Catallaxy. This is yet anther example of it.

    Ah yes, correcting your absurd Eastwoodian understanding of the etymology of the ghetto = political tribalism.

    But no tribalism from someone so smitten with Keynesianism that he saw fit to argue that the Nuremberg laws were of ‘no consequence’ just because he saw Nazi Germany as the very model of a Keynesian state. You inveterate liar.

  214. Ken Parish says:

    I was going to comment at one point that this thread might be the honourable exception to the pointlessly tribal nature of blogosphere discussion. Sadly, however, we hit the point of diminishing returns quite some time ago. Feel free to keep stoushing if you want. You’re all consenting adults. I can’t see the point myself.

  215. Pedro says:

    Dan this is from the article

    “SWISS banking giant UBS says the European Union’s emissions trading scheme has cost the continent’s consumers $287 billion for “almost zero impact” on cutting carbon emissions, and has warned that the EU’s carbon pricing market is on the verge of a crash next year.

    In a damning report to clients, UBS Investment Research said that had the €210bn the European ETS had cost consumers been used in a targeted approach to replace the EU’s dirtiest power plants, emissions could have been reduced by 43 per cent “instead of almost zero impact on the back of emissions trading”.

    Describing the EU’s ETS as having “limited benefits and embarrassing consequences”, the report said there was fading political support for the scheme, the price was too low to have any significant environmental impact and it had provided windfall profits to market participants, paid for by electricity customers.”

    Maybe you’ll need to find a UBS client to get the report.

    Ken, it’s like drinking with your old mates. After six beers you’re back to retelling the same stories.

  216. JC says:

    You cannot seriously defend your stupidity in believing that ‘skanke ho’ was a term invented by the ALP Right by referring to some idiotic site on the Internet.

    He defends this rank nonsense at every turn and on every forum. It’s the very epitome of tribalism to a level not seen before on any political blog in the world.

    But no tribalism from someone so smitten with Keynesianism that he saw fit to argue that the Nuremberg laws were of ‘no consequence’ just because he saw Nazi Germany as the very model of a Keynesian state.

    Ah yes… Homer’s defense of Keynesianism by using Nazi Germany as the gold standard.

  217. Pedro says:

    And while we are reviewing the news today, this just in

    “THE Gillard government has admitted Australians will suffer slower wages growth as a result of a superannuation boost funded in-part by its minerals resource rent tax.”

    I recall Homer and Dan (I think) scoffing at my opposition to the increase in the super guarantee.

  218. Fyodor says:

    What does CRA have to do with the price of fish? Well I have already said that.

    Really? Where?

    Is this more Homer “Somebody-Somewhere-Said-Something-I-Agree-With-But-I-Won’t-Tell-You-Where-They-Said-It-Oh!-Look!-Burma!CRA!” Paxton nonsense?

  219. Dan says:

    [email protected] – I categorically deny any scoffing on this matter.

  220. Dan says:

    [email protected] – yeah, I’ve lost interest too.

  221. KB Keynes says:

    Soony,
    you are the person who dragged out my quote that showed there were 5 yes that is right 5 definitions of the terms.
    It shot a dagger right through your absurd claims. yes you were a liar to continue. but then you couldn’t contain yourself. you had to say EVERYONE knew what the term meant because some tart said a joke about it at a drunken party you attended so Latham must have known

    Yes that’s right folks. That soony’s statistics for you.

    No he wouldn’t accept Latham’s diary as evidence or even that the two staffers said he didn’t know.

    no explanation either for why it took so long for political elites and journo’s to take so long to find out the rap version definition.

    but that’s Catallaxy for you. No logic just tribalism based on ignorance.

    Tell me Soony..how many Jews were killed under the Nuremberg laws and how many after Kristallnacht.

    Soony the great German histrian who claimed the night of the Long knives proved terror subdued the German population except not even the sopade papers agreed with that.

    oh yeah Soony and the other great ‘historians at Catallaxy didn’t know what the Sopade papers were.

    JC,
    you didn’t even agree that Germany had a recovery.

    now that is tribalism at its extreme and it most stupid level. but that is JC.

    Fyodor, err in the sentence that first mentioned it and yes you are still feigning ignorance badly.

  222. JC says:

    WTF?

    yes you were a liar to continue. but then you couldn’t contain yourself. you had to say EVERYONE knew what the term meant because some tart said a joke about it at a drunken party you attended so Latham must have known

    Homer, you are even more delusional that your normal delusional self.

    No he wouldn’t accept Latham’s diary as evidence or even that the two staffers said he didn’t know.

    No of course “Soony” wouldn’t, primarily because he’s not a lame brain like you and wouldn’t accept such a daft explanation.

    JC,
    you didn’t even agree that Germany had a recovery.

    What recovery, you dill. Was it a consumer led recovery? LOl

  223. Fyodor says:

    Fyodor, err in the sentence that first mentioned it and yes you are still feigning ignorance badly.

    Here’s the thing, Homerkles. Mentioning two things in the same sentence doesn’t connect them, other than in the bizarro world inside your cranium. CRA has nothing to do with the statistical significance of whatever it was you were wittering about. Nothing.

    As for “feigning ignorance badly”, I will concede that some of us lack your innate ability to demonstrate ignorance with so much breadth and sincerity. I sometimes wonder if you have an adequate baseline competency in any field. Other than tribalism, of course.

  224. JC says:

    Okay, lets have a little bipartisanship.

    Is there any country more bloody minded, more pigheaded than the Germans at the present time?

    I think not and most other reasonable people would think the same.

    What an awesome series of manufacturing reports coming out of half of the developed world. Damn, I just cannot fathom why I ever doubted the rally in crude oil. I mean, Germany and China only saw the largest contraction in manufacturing utilization since 2009.
    And to top it off with whip cream, Germany of all places could not sell three out of ten of their intended bonds. I mean, if Germany cannot issue debt, who can?
    Actually, on second inspection, the Germany news is almost too ludicrous. Is this some sort of conspiracy? Or perhaps a bad joke?
    Maybe some financiers got together and decided they’d add the spice of panic to the Germany recipe, hoping that Germany would rethink its “no money printing” position?
    Well if they did, they’re completely crazy. The only way this news will be received is as I first phrased it; the failed Germany auction will cause all men and women to ask “if not Germany, then who?” Already, the yields on notes across Europe are jackknifing higher. And Merkel hasn’t changed her rhetoric in the slightest.
    She already came out today supporting the ECB and their tight fisted approach.

  225. jtfsoon says:

    yes you were a liar to continue. but then you couldn’t contain yourself. you had to say EVERYONE knew what the term meant because some tart said a joke about it at a drunken party you attended so Latham must have known

    That is one of the most incoherent dribble I’ve read in my life. But I guess in calling a woman a ‘tart’ you are just emulating your hero who called a right wing woman a ‘skanke ho’ and then claimed it referred to Chiang Kai Shek’s mistress.

  226. Pedro says:

    It’s a train wreck JC. We’re fucked now.

    On the positive side, the new Great Depression will lead to a sustained reductions in GHG emissions and allow Bob Brown to closely examine just what a sustained reduction in production looks like in practice.

    Ken, congratuations, you’ve now got the Tooze and Skanke Ho threads of doom from catallaxy restarting. this should be tedious

  227. jtfsoon says:

    I’ll leave it at that, Pedro. I would’ve said nothing if Homer hadn’t dragged me into this. All I will say is he has learnt nothing after all these years since his public shaming on those two issues.

  228. KB Keynes says:

    Fyodor if you understood english then you would realise I never said it did.
    nice strawman though.

    Feigning ignorance of how stupid and ignorant( statistically) a person who stated this.
    So, Steve, the last 13 years of data suggests you’re wrong, you’re counting on “luck” to help you out of this empirical quandary and yet you claim the other side are relying on “hope”? Is that right?”

    JC proves tribalism again.

    Evidence from Urban dictionary accepted. nahh

    Evidence from Latham’s book and the two Lawrence staffers involved. Nah

    Just make it up.

    When you shoot yourself in the foot by producing a written quote that there were 5 definitions , not one as alleged,in Urban dictionary and NO-ONE disputes that. Just pretend it didn’t happen.

    what about Crikey who originally showed all this? Just ignore it

    That is what tribalism is all about. They simply makes things up.

  229. Tillman says:

    Good lord.

    Is Homer still insisting that Skan Kee Ho was Chang Kai Shek’s mistress before entering into illicit relations with certain unnamed members of the Sussex St’s right faction?

  230. Tillman says:

    And that Hitler was a misunderstood genius as described in footnote 27 on page 314 of Tooze?

  231. Fyodor says:

    Fyodor if you understood english then you would realise I never said it did. nice strawman though.

    The problem isn’t with my comprehension of English, but yours. You said:

    What does CRA have to do with the price of fish? Well I have already said that.

    Get a grip, FFS.

    Feigning ignorance of how stupid and ignorant( statistically) a person who stated this.

    So, Steve, the last 13 years of data suggests you’re wrong, you’re counting on “luck” to help you out of this empirical quandary and yet you claim the other side are relying on “hope”? Is that right?”

    What’s so “stupid and ignorant (statistically)” about that question?

  232. JC says:

    JC proves tribalism again.

    I do on this topic? How so Homes?

    Evidence from Urban dictionary accepted. nahh

    So you’re telling me that the Urban Dictionary had line which suggested Skanky Ho was also spelt Skanke Ho and instead of referring to American Ghetto slang it actually referred to Chiang Kai Shek’s mistress. Is that right?

    But lets not stop there. The reference to Janet A was meant to conjure an image of the warlord’s mistress. How so eggsactly?

    Furthermore was there a mistress named Skanke Ho to lend this proposition of yours even a speck of credibility?

    Homes, don’t you feel the least embarrassment?

    Evidence from Latham’s book and the two Lawrence staffers involved. Nah

    Lol… Yea the NSW Labor right was obviously referring to Skanke Ho. They buggers weren’t spinning up a little, were they?

    Just make it up.

    If they did you fell for it hook line and skanke.

    When you shoot yourself in the foot by producing a written quote that there were 5 definitions , not one as alleged,in Urban dictionary and NO-ONE disputes that. Just pretend it didn’t happen.

    Homes, as you well know we all looked up the Urban dictionary and it wasn’t there.

    what about Crikey who originally showed all this? Just ignore it

    I bet you Crikey didn’t say what you think it said.

    That is what tribalism is all about. They simply makes things up.

    And gullible blobs like you accept it.

    Stop this nonsense now. Apologize and it will be forever forgotten. In fact I promise to delete the entry in Wikihomer if you just apologize.

  233. JC says:

    Is Homer still insisting that Skan Kee Ho was Chang Kai Shek’s mistress before entering into illicit relations with certain unnamed members of the Sussex St’s right faction?

    In a word, Yes. He still is Tillers. His sincere ignorance almost has a rustic charm to it.

    And that Hitler was a misunderstood genius as described in footnote 27 on page 314 of Tooze?

    This has no rustic charm. Early 30’s Nazi Germany seems to be Homer’s gold standard for Keynesian economics.

  234. jtfsoon says:

    Homer, you dope.
    Urban Dictionary isn’t definitive of anything. It’s like Yahoo Answers. People log on and post whatever crap they want and someone else logs on and deletes it if it’s wrong. Thus just because at some specific point in time there were 5 definitions of skanky ho doesn’t mean that the only accepted usage and etymology of the term derives from the US ghetto and rap culture. Do you even understand how this online thingy works?

  235. KB Keynes says:

    Thanks JC you again proved what tribalism is.

    fyodor you obviously never studied statistics. Ask some-one who has. A little hint it has to do with how many observations you need.

  236. JC says:

    Thanks JC you again proved what tribalism is.

    Well yes obviously. Now how about that heart felt apology we’re all waiting for. Dig deep Homes. Take a deep breath and push down, as I know you can do it.

  237. JC says:

    Jason:

    Just so we have a clean record, Urban Dictionary never had a entry referring to Skanke Ho, Shek’s mistress. Homes is being more than a little dishonest and deceitful here, as he knows full well there was never a reference to an Asian Warlord’s mistress…even if there were 5 definitions, which I’m sure there weren’t… or at least that strayed too far from the original ghetto slang.

  238. KB Keynes says:

    err Soony it simply means there were more than one definition.

    You and the rest of the Catallaxian rabble claimed there was only ONE definition.

    Another own goal of yours again.

    How it works. Well I ain’t the person who at the time went and looked the website and then said the 5 definitions were not there.

    I had to tell you you had to go back in time to look at it.

    That is how the online thingy works and you didn’t know.

    Next time don’t kick so many own goals

  239. jtfsoon says:

    FFS Homer
    There is only one definition, Every man and his dog knows there is only one definition. Are you telling me that 5 groups of people in the world including the Sussex St ALP Right dining at Marigold independently came up with the term ‘skanke ho’?

    Just admit you were wrong on this and it can move on.

  240. KB Keynes says:

    JC,

    In one of Soony’s insecure rants he produced a comment of mine where I said just that.
    no-one on the thread disputed that because it was there at the time.

    you like soony immediately went to Urban dictionary to investigate just like the internet geniuses you are.

    I told both of you at the time you had to go back to when the original remark was made. 2004 I think.

    good of you to show your ignorance again

  241. jtfsoon says:

    You insisted on using ‘Urban dictionary’ as your reference so we went and clicked on the link as suggested. And it wasn’t there. It doesn’t mean we accepted your shonky methodology. All it meant was that you were not only wrong on your methodology but wrong on the source that you claimed verified your claim

  242. jtfsoon says:

    So Homer

    In short – to verify any of your claims we have to invent a time machine.

    Popper would have something to say about that.

  243. Fyodor says:

    fyodor you obviously never studied statistics. Ask some-one who has. A little hint it has to do with how many observations you need.

    Heh. Homer lecturing me on statistics. How droll.

    Again: show don’t tell, squibber.

  244. JC says:

    In one of Soony’s insecure rants he produced a comment of mine where I said just that.

    Yea and?

    no-one on the thread disputed that because it was there at the time

    It possibly took people a week recovering from belly ache as a result of uncontrolled laughter. I recall I didn’t do any stomach exercises at the gym for two weeks after that.

  245. KB Keynes says:

    err Soony any decent person knows how to get to a website back in time.

    It is all about the internet thingy.

    but you do not even have to do that.

    If it wasn’t true then at the time of my comments some-one, anyone could have looked it up and said it wasn’t there.

    No-one did because no-one could.
    I have looked at Urban dictionary three times now.

    Skanky ho in 2004 the first time looked had 5 definitions. two or three months later it has 3 and it now has three.

    by the way you are sort of mixed up between 238 and 242. work out how you contradict yourslef.

    Fyodor,

    I have already given you a hint. go and ask some-one , you might even look up Lindzen at Quiggin’s blog.

  246. JC says:

    I have looked at Urban dictionary three times now.

    Skanky ho in 2004 the first time looked had 5 definitions. two or three months later it has 3 and it now has three.

    What an interesting pass time Homes…. looking at the changes in the definition of Skanky Ho every so often.

    What else do you do in your spare time?

    And stop the lying, as there was never any definition remotely relevant to what you’re suggesting.

    As if.

  247. JC says:

    err Soony any decent person knows how to get to a website back in time.

    It is all about the internet thingy.

    but you do not even have to do that

    Okay, so tell us how to go back through time and verify the claim. Go on Homer Gates.

  248. KB Keynes says:

    You idiot,

    anybody can go back and look at a website at a specific point in time.

    As I said it is an Internet thingy thing.

    classic JC though and now Soony has joined him.

    That is what Catallaxy does to people.

    I tell you what. Ask any Librarian and I bet they can help you.

  249. jtfsoon says:

    Go on, Homer
    Produce the missing definition from Urban Dictionary.

  250. JC says:

    I’m sorry Homes, but I’m obviously as computer savvy as you are.

    I looked through urban Dict earlier to check on previous discussions and couldn’t find anything that would allow me to do a past search.

    I also did a google search and your unique definition didn’t come up other than people making fun it.

    So do me a favor and link to the 2004 definition Homer Gates.

  251. JC says:

    oops.. not as computer savvy..

  252. jtfsoon says:

    Homer
    Let me repeat this for your education.

    Even if your ‘unique’ definition was there it would prove nothing. You could have gone onto Urban Dictionary and put it on yourself.

  253. JC says:

    Even if your ‘unique’ definition was there it would prove nothing. You could have gone onto Urban Dictionary and put it on yourself.

    It was never there anyway Jason, Homes is just bullshitting. Urban Dict has reasonable standards and they would have vetted something as mindlessly ridiculous as Homer Gates is suggesting.

  254. KB Keynes says:

    Internet geniuses do ont even know how to get a website that has existed in time.

    Go on down to a library and ask them how one would go about looking at the SOCOG website at the time of the Olympics.

    It is quite unbelievable how ignorant you two are of the internet.

    Next time know something about what you are talking about.

    Ken is proven right again

  255. Tillman says:

    So this is your theory right Homer:

    – Mark Latham was browsing urbandictionary.com one day and he read about Skan Kee Ho, who (according to urbandictionary.com at the time but never since) was Chang Kai Shek’s lover but left him and moved to Australia where she took up with certain members of the ALP Right faction.

    – This treacherous sluttiness reminded him of Janet Albrechtsen.

    – So he called JA a “Skan Kee Ho” in Parliament.

    – Some time later, it was pointed out to Mark that “Skan Kee Ho” is a homophone for “skanky ho” i.e. a prostitute with sub-optimal hygiene.

    – Iron Mark was distraught that anyone might have thought he meant JA was a prostitute with sub-optimal hygiene, when he actually meant she was acting like an Asian warlord’s consort so he immediately corrected himself.

    – No harm, no foul.

    – Various Catellexatards who don’t know how to use the internet have been making fools of themselves for the last seven or eight years over this issue and refuse to accept that Skan Kee Ho was an Asian warlord’s mistress, that JA should be proud to be compared to such a firey tiger mama and symbol of female self-determination, and that the whole thing is a basically an innocent misunderstanding, like the time Iron Mike broke the taxi driver’s arm and punched out the journo at Hungry Jack’s.

    Those are pretty much the facts as you understand them, right?

  256. Fyodor says:

    <blockquoteFyodor,

    I have already given you a hint. go and ask some-one , you might even look up Lindzen at Quiggin’s blog.

    Homerkles squibs again. You’re full of it.

  257. Fyodor says:

    Whoops. Try again:

    Fyodor,

    I have already given you a hint. go and ask some-one , you might even look up Lindzen at Quiggin’s blog.

    Homerkles squibs again. You’re full of it.

  258. KB Keynes says:

    no old son you are full of it.Anyone who has understands statistics knows my point.

    you do not hence your absurd sentence to Steve.

  259. Fyodor says:

    You have no point, Homer. You refuse to substantiate your assertion.

    That’s you in a nutshell, Homer: no brain, no ticker, no clue.

  260. Tillman says:

    Here’s what Homer said seven years ago:

    Homer Paxton
    7/7/2004 | 5:00 pm

    It was Greg Sheridan of Laurie Bereton will foreign minister in a latham government who through little research and basic lazy journalism came up with the thought that the term skanky ho referred to what some ‘rapper’ was ‘singing’.
    Let us ignore for the moment that Iron Mark didn’t know this whwn it was put to him moreover let us also forgat that like all music lovers he hates ‘rapmusic’.

    There is some 5 or 6 meanings to the term skanky ho. for the recors I think he was referring to the one involving a mistress of a taiwanese dictator. This is somewhat known in the NSW right.

    http://www.slattsnews.observationdeck.org/?p=559

  261. Ken Parish says:

    Would you blokes consider ending this discussion now? I can see the three or four of you find it endlessly fascinating but for the rest of us it’s mind-numbingly tedious as well as utterly pontless.

  262. Tillman says:

    We’ll end it just as soon as Homer admits he is wrong. It’s all up to him.

  263. Tillman says:

    Ken, did you mean “pantless” instead of “pontless”?

  264. JC says:

    Ken

    Sure thing. But you do realize it’s going to start up again like a random prairie fire at any time. It’s been going on for around 6 years or so years now and still looks like he has a decent set of legs.

    Now that Tillman has dragged out the original we have a lot to work on next time it starts up again as Homes has a real lot to answer with the glaring contradictions and embellishments.

  265. Tillman says:

    JC is right. We need to nip this in the bud.

  266. Pedro says:

    The mulish stubbornness is one of Homers’s endearing traits.

  267. KB Keynes says:

    fyodor, stop crying, you were caught out pure and simple.
    go away and learn why. I have already told you how.

    I haven’t changed what I have said at all. My memory was correct. It was 2004.

    it was absurd in the extreme that Mark Latham would have any idea of anything to do with rap music. He says so in his diaries. the two Lawrence staffers confirmed that as well.

    It is another own goal fellas.

    give up.

  268. Tillman says:

    Right. So your theory is Iron Mark was trying to tell Parliament that JA was like Skan Kee Ho, a Taiwanese warlord’s mistress.

  269. Tillman says:

    Homer sez:

    it was absurd in the extreme that Mark Latham would have any idea of anything to do with rap music. He says so in his diaries.

    Iron Mark sez in his diaries:

    it sounded like more American rap rubbish to me

    http://www.vexnews.com/2011/11/its-complicated-mark-lathams-night-out-with-janet-albrechtsen/

  270. Fyodor says:

    fyodor, stop crying, you were caught out pure and simple.
    go away and learn why. I have already told you how.

    Ha! WHERE was I “caught out”?

    You’ve failed time and again to substantiate your argument, and you’re still squibbing, squibber.

  271. . says:

    As we say on the Cat,

    “Hilarious yet tragic”

  272. Fyodor says:

    fyodor, stop crying, you were caught out pure and simple.
    go away and learn why. I have already told you how.

    WHERE was I “caught out”?

    You have failed time and again to substantiate your assertion. You’ve squibbed every time, squibber.

  273. KB Keynes says:

    Fyodor,

    you have showed yourself ignorant by saying

    ahem”So, Steve, the last 13 years of data suggests you’re wrong, you’re counting on “luck” to help you out of this empirical quandary and yet you claim the other side are relying on “hope”? Is that right?”

    pure Lindzen really

    Tillers

    you very conveniently do not write he said before that comment. Typical

    you know where he says he has no idea of what it was.

    That puts into context the next sentence. He thinks it has something to do with rap music. given he doesn’t listen to rap music he is guessing.gosh why does he say rubbish!!

    I award you a golden Davidson for that pathetic attempt which left out a crucial sentence.

    Little boys and little minds and impure motives.

    Uncle Joseph would be pleased

  274. Tillman says:

    Homer

    I’m looking for the part in Iron Mark’s diaries where he refers to Skan Kee Ho as a former mistress of a Taiwanese warlord who was giving it out to anyone who could prove affiliation with the NSW Right faction.

    Can you tell me what page of the diaries I should be looking at?

    Alternatively, can you please retract what you have said.

    Your comments were deeply offensive to the Taiwanese warlord community.

    Worse, you have wasted thousands of man hours on various blogs over the last seven years and you have murdered a number of very promising threads with your lies.

  275. Dan says:

    The murder of this thread was a group effort.

  276. Fyodor says:

    Fyodor,

    you have showed yourself ignorant by saying

    ahem”So, Steve, the last 13 years of data suggests you’re wrong, you’re counting on “luck” to help you out of this empirical quandary and yet you claim the other side are relying on “hope”? Is that right?”

    HOW is that ignorant?

  277. KB Keynes says:

    Fyodor if you knew Statistics you would know. go and learn something about the subject.

    Tillman you are flailing around because you have been caught out.

    on release of the diaries I acknowledged my theory was wrong. Duh.

    Why does Latham say “I didn’t understand what skanky ho meant. It sounded like more americam rap music rubbish to me.”

    Amazing what happens when you insert a deliberately left out sentence to give context to what is being said.

    He goes on a little later to say he actually said Shanky ho who will dies in a ditch for the Liberal party.
    He knew the term so well he got it wrong and had to correct Hansard.

    You have been caught out doctoring a line.

    That is known as lying.

    Very Catallaxian. Very tribal. very sad Ken proven right again. Well done

  278. Fyodor says:

    Fyodor if you knew Statistics you would know. go and learn something about the subject.

    And if you could write competently in coherent English people wouldn’t treat you like a witless buffoon.

    Show, don’t tell, Homerkles. You continue to fail to substantiate your position.

    Come on now, Homey, demonstrate your mastery of statistics. I’m really keen to explore the – no doubt proximate – limits of your understanding of the subject.

    Or is that what’s holding you back – your fear of imminent humiliation?

  279. KB Keynes says:

    Fyodor ,I’ve given you all the hints I am going to.

    I have even told you a very easy place to look.
    now be a good boy and do it.

  280. Fyodor says:

    Fyodor ,I’ve given you all the hints I am going to.

    I have even told you a very easy place to look.
    now be a good boy and do it.

    More gutless squibbery.

  281. Tillman says:

    on release of the diaries I acknowledged my theory was wrong

    Good. I will take that as an apology from you – finally, after seven long years – for perpetuating the lie that Skan Kee Ho was a Taiwanese warlord’s mistress.

    Think of all the distress and heartache that could have been avoided if you had made this retraction earlier.

  282. Tillman says:

    Now apologise for saying Hitler was a misunderstood genius.

  283. jtfsoon says:

    Let’s move on.

    Now Homer, when I characterised your position on the Nuremberg laws as being that they were ‘of no consequence’, you did not object but instead brought up some other diversion. is that still your position?

  284. KB Keynes says:

    Tillers,

    I did that once I knew of what happened. you know just after the release.

    I have always said that. I have never said anything to the contrary.

    It is you clowns who are saying otherwise and of what Latham knew.

    In context of Kristallnacht they were of no consequence.

    Just so you completely understand.

    Jews were targeted for murder simply for being Jews by the state in 1938. They were not before.

  285. . says:

    In context of Kristallnacht they were of no consequence.

    Nazi.

    Let’s move on.

  286. KB Keynes says:

    You never could understand english Mark.
    Still can’t , never will.

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